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Uhe real life encounters

Some were bad...some were good They saw it...They feel it...They face it...
~ With Illustrations

Uhe real life encounters with

Ghosts & Spirits


They are not a myth-but a Reality

P.V. RAO

MANOJ PUBLICATIONS

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ISBN: 978-81-310-0623-8

Fifth Edition : 2012

Printers: Jai Maya Offset Jhilmil Industrial Area, Delhi-110095 T h e real life e n c o u n t e r s with G h o s t s & Spirits : P. V. Rao

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


P.V. Rao (b.1936), originally from Andhra P r a d e s h , was born b r o u g h t up and educated in Varanasi, U.P. He retired from G o v e r n m e n t of I n d i a as Editor of publications in one of its Departments. He is now settled in Delhi. He is a humorous w r i t e r and wrote 'middles' for t h e Hindustan Times and humorous pieces for the Evening News under the title Musings. He also compiled a book of jokes and his anecdotes under the title The Most Laughable Jokes (Rupa). He is also a writer of stories in Telugu and his collection of stories Katha Vinodini received a good ideal of critical acclaim. He also wrote columns for Telugu weeklies. His skits in Hindi were broadcast from Vividh Bharai. He is also deeply interested in light Hindi music.

PREFACE
I have been interested in the phenomenon of ghosts and spirits since my childhood when I came across a spirit manifestation which left a deep impression on me. I later made a study of it in my own way. If not all, many of the people we meet in daily life have a ghost or spirit story to tell. But hardly any of such stories get recorded. Even if a few selected stories, out of the myriad ones, are printed in a book form, it would run into several volumes. But go to any library, there would hardly be a couple of such books, if any, there. There is also no theoretical and practical research on the subject, worth the name, in our country, like the one conducted by the London Spiritualist Alliance and Spiritual Association of Great Britain. A commendable effort was made in this direction by the psychists like Dr. Balbir Singh, A.S. Bhatnagar and K. C. Vyas and others but it didn't last long. This book presents my own views on the subject along with real life ghost and spirit stories which I find remarkable in the sense that they inspire the reader to ponder on the purpose of life on the earth and the way to make it worthwhile for the life hereafter. Author

CONTENTS
1. GHOSTS HAVE A LONG HISTORY (AN ANALYTICAL STUDY) 2. GHOST THAT KNOCKED ON THE DOOR 3. THE MOTHER'S SPIRIT THAT YEARNED FOR ITS BABIES 4. THE BENIGN SPIRIT THAT SHAPED ITS SON'S LIFE 5. 20 YEARS OF LIFE WITH SPIRITS 6. A DEAD PILOT TALKS TO HIS WIFE 7. THE SPIRIT THAT WAITED TO SERVE PEOPLE 8. THE SPIRIT THAT GOT ITS BODY EXHUMED 9. THE SPIRIT THAT MOVED A LOADED RAILWAY WAGON 10. THE GHOST THAT THREW A BUNDLE OUT OF A WELL 11. GHOSTLY CRIES FROM A VILLAGE HOUSE 12. A ROMANCE THAT EXTENDED TO THE OTHER WORLD 13. THE GHOST THAT HAUNTED GERMAN ROYALS 14. FOUR SPINE CHILLING STORIES 15. A GERMAN DOCTOR'S SPIRIT PERFORMS SURGERIES THROUGH A BRAZILIAN 16. SLIDING CHAIR AND A WHACK ON THE BACK IN THE TOILET 7 31 39 47 53 67 78 85 89 95 99 105 114 120

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The demonic doesn't always express itself in Srange manifestations such as unusual voices coming from the throat of he one possessed, violent and erratic behaviour, and so forh. In our more sophisticated society, spirit of unbelief is strengthened and resistance to the Hoy Spirit is intensified with demonic influences.

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GHOSTS HAVE A LONG HISTORY (AN ANALYTICAL STUDY)
This creation is full of mysteries. In fact, the greatest mysteries exist not in the ethereal world but in the tangible world. The press of a button could flood a hall with light. A touch on the mouse would bring the whole world of information on the screen before you. A missile could be made to zero in on a target hundreds of kilometres away by remote control. Just look around and you will find a multitude of scientific marvels. But we wonder only at the supernatural phenomena because we just can't find a plausible explanation for them nor can we cause them to happen. GHOSTS IN MYTHOLOGY AND FOLKLORE How does a man speak about things happening miles and miles away without any inkling about them? How can a man narrate the experiences of a dead man he never came across in life nor had any contact with? H o w can a fire take place by itself or out of nowhere a volley of stones hit a spot? These are supernatural phenomena. And they have been occurring from ancient times. Unless it is out and out fantasy, references to ghosts in all literary works must have been based on real life experiences. I don't think the ghost of king of Denmark in the Shakespearean drama of 'Hamlet' is entirely fictional. Shakespeare might have drawn on the reported encounters of the people with the ghosts and spirits. In any case, the ghost of king of Denmark appears before his son Hamlet and draws a horrifying spectacle of afterlife. The ghost says, "I am thy father's spirit; Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
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And for the day confin'd to fast in fires, Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature, Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid. To tell the secrets of my prison-house, I could a tale unfold whose lightest word, would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, Make thy two eyes, like stars start from their spheres, Thy knotted and combined locks to part, And each particular hair to stand on end, Like quills upon the fretful porpentine. But this eternal blazon must not be to ears of flesh and blood." The ghost then urges his son to take revenge on his uncle who had not only murdered the king out had also seduced his wife and married her. CHRIST EXORCISES EVIL SPIRITS In Bible there are several instances of Jesus Christ performing miracles. One of these miracles which he performed was to exorcise evil spirits from the possessed people. In Mark 5 of Bible, the following story occurs: "When they arrived at the other side of the lake, a demonpossessed man ran out from a graveyard, just as Jesus was climbing from the boat. This man lived among the gravestones and had such strength that whenever he was put into handcuffs and shackles as he often was he walked away. No one was strong enough to control him. All day long and through the night he would wander among the tombs and in the wild hills, screaming and cutting himeslf with sharp pieces of stone. When Jesus was still far out on the water, the man had seen him and run to meet him, and fell down before him. Then Jesus spoke to the demon within the man and said, 'Come out, you evil spirit.' It gave a terrible scream, shrieking, 'What are are you going to do
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to me, Jesus. Son of the most High God? For God's sake, don't torture me!' 'What is your name?' Jesus asked, and the demon replied, 'Legion, for there are many of us here within the man.' Then the demons begged him again and again not to send them to some distant land. Now as it happened, there was a huge herd of hogs rooting around on the hill above the lake. 'Send us into those hogs,' they begged. And Jesus gave them permission. Then the evil spirits came out of the man and entered the hogs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned." Under Act 16 of Bible, following story is narrated by Paul and Sidas: "One day as we were going to the place of prayer besides the river, we met a demon-possessed slave girl, who was a fortune teller and earned much money to her master. She followed along behind us shouting, 'Those men are servants of God and they have come to tell you how to have your sins forgiven.' This went on day after day, until Paul, in great distress, turned and spoke to the demon with in her, 'I commnd you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her,1 he said. And instantly it left her." GHOSTS IN HINDU MYTHOLOGY In the Hindu religious texts and mythology, there are mentions of ghosts and spirits. A passage in Brihdaranyak Upanishad mentions that Patanchala, son of Kapi, residing in Madra country had a daughter w h o was possessed by a Gandharva, an aerial spirit, and served as a medium. The sage Bhujyu, the son of Lahyayana, visited the Madra country and came across the daughter of Patanchala. Bhujyu asked the spirit within her as to the actual extent of the world and where the sons of Parikshit were. It is not known what answers the possessed woman gave but it is an incident that illustrates that the spiritual possessions took place even during those ancient times.
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VAJRA'S LIBERATION FROM GHOSTLY WORLD A story relating to a spirit occurs in Brahmand Puran. In Kanchipuram, there used to live a thief called Vajra. Whatever this thief stole, he buried it at a particular spot in the forest. One night, a woodcutter named Veerdutt saw from behind bushes Vajra burying the stolen money under a tree. After the departure of the thief, the woodcutter dug out the money, took one-tenth of it and restored the rest to its original place. Frorft then onwards he made it his routine to pocket one-tenth of the buried money while placing the balance back in the earthly cache. One day Veerdutt, the woodcutter, handing over a good amount of money to his wife, said, "You craved for money everyday. Take this." "If this money is not earned by the sweat of your brow and belongs to others, it would perish. So, better spend this money for noble causes, like constructing ponds and sinking wells," advised the God fearing lady. Veerdutt followed his wife's advice. He felled the trees and cleared the land and gave it to the Brahmins as charity. He invited all the Brahmins one day and gifted them clothes and ornaments. He built houses and gifted them to the Brahmins. The Brahmins, the top-most echelon of the Hindus caste hierarchy, were so moved by his generosity that they gave him the title of 'Dwijavarma' (Dwija means twice born, i.e. Brahmin, Varma means prince). Why were Brahmins alone considered qualified for receiving charity is a question that may puzzle many. But that is beyond the scope of this work. As the time rolled on, Dwijavarma died. The retainers of Yama, the death God, as also those of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu turned up to take his soul to their respective worlds. Then appeared Narada, the omnipresent sage and son of Lord Brahma and announced, "This man had constructed ponds, sunk wells and built temples for the public but all with the stolen money. So, he will roam in the space in the form of a spirit till he feels remorseful." Hearing this, the retainers of all the three Gods departed. Turning to Dwijavarma's wife sage Narada said, "Noble lady! It is you who showed your husband the best way to spend the ill-gotten money. So, you go to Brahmalok (Brahma's world)."
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"O, holy sage I will not go anywhere till my husband gets the worldly body. I also solicit the same fate for myself as the one ordained for my late husband." Narada, pleased with her unwavering loyalty to her husband, said, "Propitiate Lord Shiva and bathe in the holy rivers. Your husband will be blessed with liberation from the ghostly world." Accordingly, she prayed to Lord Shiva and Dwijavarma was absolved of his sins. Subsequently, both husband and wife attained the sublime worlds. Since the money stolen by the thief Vajra got spent for noble causes, he was also rewarded with elevation to heaven with his family. THE SPIRIT THAT ATTAINED LIBERATION Koorma Puran recounts the story of Shankukarna who is lost in meditation focused on God Rudra (Lord Shiva) in a place called Pishachamochan in Varanasi. A disembodied soul once appeared before him in a skeletal form and bowed to him. "Who are you? Wherefrom do you come?" the ascetic asked. The spirit suffering from the pangs of discontent said, "O holy seer! I was a wealthy Brahmin in my earthly life. But I never worshipped Gods, guests or cows, nor did I perform any pious deed. But one day, however, I happened to visit Lord Vishwanath's (Shiva's) temple and touched his Lingam, I immediately died but owing to this devotional gesture on my part, I was not sent to hell. But as I did not do any good deed in my life, I became a Pishach (evil spirit). "I am now repentent of my earthly life which I wasted on purposeless pursuits. I have come unto your great refuge. Kindly deliver me from this wretched state." "Just because you worshipped Lord Vishwanath once in your life, you have been spared the tortures of hell and have been able to visit me. Now have an ablution with unswerving devotion in the yonder holy pond known as Pishachamochan kund (the pond that liberates the evil spirits)," said the seer. The spirit followed the sage's direction and it departed, donning a divine body, in a flying vehicle to Rudralok (the abode of Lord Shiva).
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Shankukarna too praised Lord Shiva and merged in a Lingam that flashed like Pralayagni (the fire of world annihilation). The place is now known as Shankukarneshwar Kshetra. THE STORY OF DHUNDHKARI Bhagwat, the life stories of ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, contains the story of Dhundhkari who became a ghost after his death. In this story Aatmadev, an issueless Brahmin, who is a Vedic scholar and pastmaster in Vedic rites, pleads with a certain sage to grant him a child. The sage said that he was not destined to beget children for seven lives but Aatmadev persisted with his pleadings. The sage warned him that persistence for a thing which was denied to him by fate would lead to misery. Nevertheless, Aatmadev did not relent in his entreaties and the helpless sage, thinking that whatever was scripted by the divine hand had to happen, presented to Aatmadev a fruit and said, "Give this fruit to your wife for eating. She has, however, to lead a very devout life, and indulge in charity and kind deeds. After a year she will be blessed with a son." Aatmadev, accordingly, gave the fruit to his wife and instructed her to follow the directions of the sage. She, however, did not eat the fruit since her sister had told her that as she was herself pregnant, she would give the child after birth to her. "You give me a part of your wealth in return," she had said. Aatmadev's wife had agreed and now she fed the fruit to a cow and announced that she had become pregnant. As soon as a child was born to the sister of Aatmadev's wife, she handed over the child to Atmadev's wife and declared that her child was born dead. In the meantime, the cow became pregnant and gave birth to a male h u m a n baby with the ears of a cow. The adopted son of Aatmadev was named Dhundhkari while the cow's babv was named Gokarn. When both reached the adult state, Dhundhkari became a spendthrift and womanizer and Gokarn, on the other hand, turned out to be a scholar and pious person. The prostitutes, harassed by the excesses of Dhundhkari, killed him. Because of this unnatural death, he became a ghost. One day the spirit of Dhundhkari appeared before Gokarn and pleaded with him to
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help it gain liberation from the spectral existence. "Praise the Sun God and chant Srimad Bhagwat for one week," advised Gokarn. Dhundhkari followed the sane advice and gained freedom from the ghostly world. A SPIRIT HELPS SAGE TULSIDAS Sage Tulsidas, the author of the most popular and venerated religious epic Ramcharit Manas, which depicts the life story of Lord Ram and his victory over Lanka's Demon King Ravan, was helped by a spirit in his quest of meeting Shri Ram and his brother Lakshman. Tulsidas was born to Atmaram Dube and Hulsi in 1532 in the village Rajapur near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. He is said to have uttered the word 'Ram' immediately after his birth. Since he was born with full denture and with as developed a body as that of the five year old child, his parents considered him to be ominous and as such gave him away to a maid Chunia in his maternal grandfather's house for care. Hulsi died the very next day. Chunia brought u p the baby as her own but as ill luck would have it, she died when Tulsidas was only five years old. A. resident of Ramshail, Narhariswamy took Tulsidas under his care and taught him the sacred mantra of Ram. He took his young disciple to Ayodhya where young Tulsidas started his studies. In a holy place called Sookarkshetra, Narhariswamy recited the life story of Shri Ram to him. From there Tulsidas went to Kashi on his own and studied Vedas under the tutelage of Sanatanji. After concluding his stidies, he returned to his native village Rajapur and started reciting Ram's life story for the benefit of devotees. When he was 29 years old, he was married to a beautiful girl. He was so madly in love with her that once when she had gone to her brother's house, he couldn't bear her separation and followed her there. His wife, in a fit of rage at his impudence, admonished him, "If you had half as much love for God as you have for a mortal like me, you would attain salvation." He felt hurt by her words and left the place in a huff on pilgrimage. At Prayag (Allahabad), he became a Sadhu. Reaching Kashi, he recited Ram's life story to devotees.
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It is said in Kashi he daily watered a Peepal tree. On the tree lived a spirit. The spirit guided him to Ram's trusted lieutenant and devotee Hanuman who was coming there incognito to listen to Shri Ram's life story. Tulsidas met Hanuman who advised him to go to Chitrakoot where Tulsidas realized his cherished goal of meeting Ram and his borther Lakshman. He then went to Ayodhya and wrote Ramcharit Manas. He died in 1623. GHOSTS IN FOLKLORE Ghosts feature not only in the mythology, they also appear in the folklore of every country and region. Betal Pachchisi is a popular series of Indian folk tales in which a ghost plays a pivotal role. Once upon a time, a wise and warrior King named Vikramaditya ruled Pratishthana, a kingdom on the bank of river Godavari. A mendicant used to present to him daily a piece of fruit which the King passed on to his treasurer for storage. The treasurer deposited the fruit pieces in store. When the store was once opened, the stored fruit pieces were found to have turned into emeralds and pearls. The King was indeed impressed by the miraculous power of the mendicant. The mendicant one day asked the King to help him in an occult ritual that he was performing. When the King agreed, the mendicant asked him to meet him at night in the cremation ground on the 14th day of dark moon. Keeping his word, the King turned u p at the cremation ground at the appointed hour and found the mendicant performing the occult ritual amidst howling noises of vampires and ghosts. Sighting the King, the mendicant said, "Go deep into the forest and you will find a corpse hanging upside down from a tree. A ghost would be in possession of the corpse. Bring the corpse here." The King found the corpse and brought it d o w n but it sprang up on to the tree, back to its bat-like position. After seven failed attempts on the part of the tenacious King, the ghost inside the corpse said, "I must relent and accompany you as I find your determination praiseworthy." As the brave King carries Betal to the cremation ground, Betal says, "I will narrate a story to you to pass time," and tells a story with a riddle
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at the end. "Tell me the answer to the riddle," says Betal. "If you know the answer and don't tell it, your head will split into pieces," he warns. As soon as the King answers the riddle, Betal zooms back to his perch on the tree. This happens 24 times. The 25th time, Betal warns the king that the mendicant is a wicked man and wants to kill him. He also desires that the King narrate the stories and answers to the riddles again and again so that they gain currency among the people. At the end the king escapes the assassination bid made by the mendicant by killing the latter. GHOSTS & SPIRITS DO EXIST The ghosts and spirits have thus a long history. In the modern times, we often read news about the activities of ghosts stones being pelted from nowhere, sudden appearance of fire, heavy objects being lifted and thrown, possessed man and w o m a n speaking in different voices, and so on. Not all the incidents narrated or reported may be true. Some of them may be fake or exaggerated versions. But the existence of ghosts and their manifestations cannot be denied. Even the men in uniform like armymen and policemen have experienced the presence of the supernatural beings. There have been reports of policemen in a police station in Madhya Pradesh leaving their single residential quarters because of the unfriendly acts of ghosts and living in the police station itself. In Jharkhand, the wife of a top cop informs the media that she is used to hearing thumping footsteps on the roof of her bungalow though nobody could be seen there. The spirit of a dead young army Jawan who laid d o w n his life for the country in the border area being worshipped in the form of an idol by his surviving colleagues because it has been guarding the Jawans against adversities in the area. DISTANCE DOESN'T DETER GHOSTS Ghosts can traverse vast distances, even across continents. Mountains, rivers and borders are no barriers for them. They can travel at very high speeds. Within a fraction of a second they may cross the
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continents and be present in a distant land. Swami Yukteswar's statement (his story appears in this book) that astral beings travel at a higher speed than the radioactive energies appears to be true. THE LIFETIME OF GHOSTS They may survive for a long time. Ghosts of people dead upto 100 to 150 years are commonly seen. In some exceptional cases, ghosts dating back to 200 to 300 years may be seen as in the case of Old Castles of England. SPIRITS HAVE BODIES We come across illustrations or cartoons featuring ghosts which are shown as shapeless figures like a h u m a n being covered from head to feet with a sheet of cloth, floating in the air. It may sound odd but the spirits do have 'bodies'. These bodies are not physical. This theory is substantiated by researchers, scholars and sages. Let us refer to Raymond Moody who in his book Life after Life recorded the study of people who have experienced clinical death but revived to tell the experiences of the post-death state. He says, "Dying persons are likely first to become aware of their spiritual bodies in the guise of their limitations. They find, when out of their physical bodies, that although they may try to tell others of their plight, no one seems to hear them." They are also invisible to others and lack solidity. The following is the experience of a clinically dead person w h o subsequently revived, "People were walking u p from all directions to the wreck. As they came by, they wouldn't seem to notice me. They would just keep walking with their eyes straight ahead. As they came really close, I would try to get out of their way, but they would walk through me." "Travel in this state, once one gets the hang of it, is apparently exceptionally easy. Physical objects present no barriers and movement from one place to another can be rapid, almost instantaneous. And yet all who have experienced it are in agreement that the spiritual body is none-the-less something, impossible to describe though it may be. Words and phrases which have been used by various subjects include a mist, a cloud, a vapour, an energy pattern. It is agreed that the
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spiritual body has a form or shape, and even parts analogous to arms, legs and head." Moody further says that a dying person hears a buzzing or ringing noise and concurrently, "being pulled rapidly through a dark space of some kind...described as a cave, a well, a trough, an enclosure." He further states, "Perhaps the most credible common element in the accounts I have studied, and certainly the element which has the greatest effect upon the individual, is the encounter with a very bright light. Typically, at its first appearance this light is dim, but it rapidly gets brighter until it reaches an unearthly brilliance. Not one person has expressed any doubt whatsover that it was a being...Shortly after its appearance, the being begins to communicate with the person involved...They still feel total love and acceptance coming from light, no matter what their answer may be. Rather, the point of the question seems to be to make them think about their lives, to help them proceed along the path to the truth." The being, as per Moody, then presents a panoramic review of the life of the dying person. This tallies with the age old belief that a dying person sees his entire life unfolding before his eyes, very much like a movie, but in a fraction of a second. Now compare this with what the soul of one Willis Coleman said in the book Life Here and Hereafter edited by Fredd Rafferts which contains automative writings received through the medium Charlotte Desen (1875). "I was ill for a time and left the old earth in an unconscious state. It seemed to me I was drifting, drifting slowly into the dark, but not a terrible dark, a time of rest, in which I was content. Then into the darkness came a faint light, and the light grew stronger and brighter, and through all my being ran a thrill of life, life in abundance. Then I woke to a vision such as I had never dreamed. Beauty, love, all seems blending in one beneficient power about me, and I felt enveloped and translated into a bliss I had never imagined. Such is heaven." Swami Yoganand in his Autobiography of a Yogi says, "God's first command brought into being the structural essential light. On the beams of this immaterial medium occur all divine manifestations,
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devotees of every age testify to the appearance of God as flame and light." Anjana Bharadwaj in her paper Communicating with the Dead through seance in the journal The Pyschic Spectrum 1990 published by the Fsychical Research Society, New Delhi observes that each soul has its own body which is still material but is of finer substance. She quotes the example of Mr A who had died in a road accident and who communicated with Bharadwaj and her friends through seances. He told her once in a seance that he still possessed the same body as he had left behind. Swami Yukteswar, appearing before his disciple Swami Yoganand after the former was buried, said that the astral body is not effected by the heat or cold. Most of the astral beings have the same appearance as they had on the earth. Their faces and bodies reflect the same youthfulness as they did when they were young on the earth. SPIRITS CAN COMMUNICATE How could spirits produce sounds without sound organs or hear replies without hearing anyone? For that matter how can they see without eyes? Well, when we see a ghost, there is nothing physical about it. One person may see it while the other persons may see it or not. It all depends upon the nature of the viewer. We hear the ghost's voice in our mind. However, we hear banging of doors or the things being hurled in the physical sense as the ghost's actions result in the movement of objects and the resultant generation of actual sounds. Not only the ghost's dialogues, even their appearances also occur only in our minds. That is why ghosts cannot be photographed. Whenever attempts were made to photograph them or shoot them with firearms, no results could be achieved. The photographs ended in blanks and the bullets shot through emptiness. If you come across a photograph of a so-called ghost, rest assured that it is a fake. Swami Yukteswar says, "By sheer intuitional feeling all astral persons see, hear, smell, taste, and touch...Astral men have all the outer sensory organs eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin but employ the intuitional sense to experience sensations through any part of the
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body; they can see through the ear or nose or skin. They are able to hear through the eyes or tongue, and can taste through the ears or skin, and so forth..." "Communication among all astral world residents is effected entirely by telepathy and astral television." GHOSTS CAN MOVE THINGS Ghosts can move objects including heavy objects like heavy furniture. They can sever branches of trees. No doubt, they possess enormous power. If the spirit possesses a person, he or she acquires the power of about ten persons. He can bend an iron rod into 'U' shape or move loaded railway wagons. It may, however, be noted that the ghosts' and spirits' physical power is not unlimited. They cannot move mountains or build big mansions like a genie. They cannot go beyond certain limit. Thereby lies the clue to the fact that they are the bodyless alteregoes of h u m a n beings. GHOSTS CAN CREATE FIRE There are incidents when the ghosts have caused sudden fires. They can't do this in the physical sense as they don't have material bodies or any material device like matchbox. They must be able to generate intense heat or small scale storm through their supernatural power. They can hurl stones and such incidents are very frequently reported. Wherefrom do they acquire stones? Of course, this is a tough question since possession of kinetic power is different from acquisition of objects. They may possess kinetic power but how do they produce objects? The answer perhaps lies in their power of materialization. The stories in this book are true and they substantiate the aforesaid attributes of the ghosts and spirits. The appearance of ghosts or communication with the spirits leaves a lasting stamp on the viewer or listener and forces him or her to ponder on the hereafter and Atma and Parmatma. The purpose of this work is not merely to generate thrill in the reader while reading those bizarre experiences but also to encourage in him a spirit of enquiry into those supernatural incidents. In this context, Swami Yukteswar's description of Astral Universe would be very relevant and enlightening.
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SWAMI YUKTESWAR'S ACCOUNT OF ASTRAL UNIVERSE In the Autobiography of a Yogi Swami Yoganand gives a detailed account of his encounter with his guru Swami Yukteswar Giri (18551936) seemingly in blood and flesh after the latter was buried on his death. Resurrected Swami Yukteswar renders a graphic description of the astral universe and astral beings to his disciple Swami Yoganand (1893-1952). Swami Yukteswar says that his present body is made of ethereal elements and that he himeslf created completely a new body with the cosmic atoms. The new body, the Swami adds, is the exact replica of his body on the earth. The following are the various features of the astral universe that he describes to his disciple : There are many worlds in the astral universe : The astral universe contains a multitude of astral worlds and the Almighty had directed the great sage to help the advanced souls of the enlightened world called Hiranya Lok to attain salvation from astral karmas. Astral beings travel fast : The beings of the astral universe travel by astral vehicles or by the masses of light that zoom at a far higher speed than the radioactive energies. Astral universe is enchanting : Astral universe is much bigger than the material universe and has its own sun, moon and stars. The day and night there are longer than of the earth. Everything there is beautiful, clean, pure and orderly. There are no bacteria,, insects, snakes or such pets there. The climate is well balanced as if it were an endless spring and occasionally there is a luminous snowfall or multi-coloured showers. There are opal lakes, bright seas and rainbow rivers. The denizens of astral worlds : There are billions of beings in the worlds of astral universe and most of them are new entrants from the earth. There are also innumerable fairies, nymphs, fish, animals, dwarfs, ghosts and angels. They inhabit the various planets of the astral universe in keeping with the quality of their karmas. The shady dwellers of dark regions : The good souls can go wherever they want whereas the evil souls have limited space to move about. The shady angels banished from the astral worlds wage battles
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against each other in which they use lifetronic (Prananu) bombs or the vibratory rays of mantras (occult verses). These ostracized beings reside in the dark lower regions of astral cosmos and suffer the consequences of their ill deeds. Above this dark 'prison' in the expansive astral universe everything is luminous and beautiful. They can assume any appearance : The Almighty has bestowed upon his children living in the astral universe the power to improve upon His creations. They can assume any form and give it up whenever they want. Most of the astral beings have the same appearance as they had on the earth. Their faces and bodies reflect the same youthfulness as they did when they were young on the earth. Beauty is not associated with appearance but with the spiritual attributes. As they can assume the most beautiful form of their choice, they do it on special occasions. For instance, they observe a festival in Hiranya Lok when a being is liberated from the astral universe through spritual advancement and is ready to enter the most refined Causal world (Karan Lok). On such occasions the Supreme Being appears in the form opted by his devotee whose liberation is being celebrated. The souls of sages that have assimilated in Him also attend the festival. They procreate through will power : The procreation does not take place through the womb of a woman but through will power. They create astral infants through the potency of their will. The friends of the previous birth on earth easily recognize each other in the astral worlds. The inhabitants of astral universe can see through the veil that separates the astral universe from the material universe and observe the activities of earth-bound human beings. Communication through sixth sense and life span : The astral world is not effected by heat or cold. The astral beings use the sixth sense or inner sense to feel or perceive the objects. They communicate with each other through Astral Telepathy or Astral Telesight. The life span of the astral beings is longer than that of his counterparts on the earth 500 to 1000 years. The weight of deeds on the earth pulls them back to the earth within a certain period of time. The astral world is free from unwilling death, diseases and old age. Astral death causes disintegration of the astral lifetrons and subsequent rebirth on the earth.
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Astral nourishment : Lower astral world dwellers eat luminous rav-like fruits and vegetables and drink a nectar that flows from fountains of light and astral brooks and rivers. They can produce fruits and vegetables and dematerialize them, restoring them to etheric invisibility. Higher world being inhabiting Hiranya Lok need minimum food whereas the highest world beings residing in Causal world (Karan Lok) need no food. Eternal bliss is their only sustenance. Universe as a dream idea of God : Astral beings enjoy ethereal music of the spheres and are entranced by the sight of all creations as exhaustless expressions of changing light. The dwellers of world which is home to spiritually advanced souls see the universe as realization of the dream ideas of God. They consider physical enjoyments and astral delights as crude and superfluous pursuits. Two kinds of souls : The astral universe is inhabited by two kinds of souls. Those souls which have earthly karma accounts to clear have to cut short their stay in the astral world and take rebirth on the earth. The enlightened souls which give up desires of experiencing the delights of the astral cosmos remain in the causal world and ultimately merge in the infinite. Swami Yukteswar disappears : Swami Yukteswar's causal body melts away directing his disciple Swami Yoganand to tell the world about the Astral Universe, Hiranya Lok and Causal world. Swami Yuktewswar also appears before an aged woman disciple and chats with her for several minutes before disappearing. Many of the features of the Astral Universe set out by Swami Yukteswar match our Hindu concetps of Swarga, Naraka and Mukti. The puranic stories may abound in exaggerations, and poetic liberty, but they substantiate the theories that Swami Yukteswar expounds on in the above narration. The pious souls being carried in divine flying vehicles to Swargalok or Vaikunth Gods in Swargalok being thrown out after the impact of their good deeds is exhausted, Naraka denizens paying for their earthly sins by undergoing torturous punishments and so on are examples that signify the veracity of Swami Yukteswar's exposition of the Astral Universe. Even celestial beings have to take birth on the earth and undergo punishment for straying from the straight path, says our mythology.
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WAKEFULNESS, DREAMS, DEEP SLEEP & SUPERCONSCIOUSNESS Says the resurrected Swami Yukteswar, "A man identifies himself about 16 hours only with his physical vehicle. Then he sleeps; if he dreams, he remains in his astral body, effortlessly creating any object even as do the astral beings. If man's sleep be deep and dreamless for several hours he is able to transfer his consciousness, or sense of I-ness, to the causal body; such sleep is revivifying. A dreamer is contacting his astral and not his causal body; his sleep is not fully refreshing." According to Mandukya Upanishad, soul experiences four chief states, namely, wakefulness, dreams, deep sleep and super consciousness. During wakefulness, the soul is conscious only of external objects and enjoys the gross things; while dreaming the soul is conscious of internal objects and enjoys subtle things. In deep sleep a man has no desires and does not dream, and soul is thus centred in itself, and in the state of super consciousness, the soul, being full of knowledge and bliss, feeds on bliss. SOUL IS WRAPPED IN FIVE BODIES Taittreya Upanishad says that soul is wrapped in five bodies, viz. physical body or body made of food (Annakosha) which is in turn wrapped in the body of vital air or astral body (Pranakosha), which is like the shape of a man. More internal than the body of vital air is the body which consists of mind which again is in shape of a man (Manomaykosha). More internal still is the body of intelligence (Vigyankosha). It is also in the shape of a man. Last and the innermost of the bodies is the body of bliss (Anandkosha). It is also in the shape of man. This theory also propounds that soul has form and that it resembles the human body. The manifestation of ghosts on earth is perhaps related to what Swami Yukteswar tells his disciple about the astral universe and its various kinds of inhabitants. Most telling is his observation that the dwellers of Astral Universe can see through the veil that separates the astral cosmos from the material cosmos and observe the goings on the earth.
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AFTER-DEATH EXPERIENCE OF A ROAD ACCIDENT VICTIM Anjana Bharati in the journal The Psychic Spectrum 1990 published by the Psychical Reserarch Society, New Delhi, in her paper 'Communicating with the Dead' observes that after death the disembodied soul remains in that state for some time and then is reborn to enjoy or suffer the consequences of its karmas. She also observes that each soul has its own body which is still material but is of finer substance. She narrates the experiences of communication with Mr A through a seance. Q. Well Mr A. You met with a road accident which proved fatal What is your view of death? A. It was something like awakening from a dream state. I found myself in a totally different situation, feeling confused for sometime, but later realizing that I was dead. Q. What was your emotional attitude towards those of your near and dear ones you had left behind? A. Whenever I recall the circumstances leading to my death I feel horribly upset. In fact, I want to forget all about it. If need be, I shall spell out these circumstances to one of my two sisters during the relaxed state of dream. But I was all the time sad about my relatives whom I often found weeping bitterly for me. I sought solace, and fortunately it was provided by the members of my own family who sat in prayers for me at a fixed time in the morning and in the evening. This is what gave me a sense of reunion and I always felt as if I was with them as before. Q. Whom did you meet immediately after your demise? A. I met my grandmother who has been in her astral abode for the last 17 years. I haven't met my grandfather who, I know, passed away a little before my leaving the world. The grandmother wishes you all well. Q. How do you pass your time over there? A. By doing one thing or the other as deemed fit for me. Q. Who determines what you are fit for? A. My teacher.
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Q. What's his name? A. We are not supposed to speak out our teacher's name. Q. Could you convey our respects to him? A. Yes, I will. Q. How do you feel now that you are communicating with your own people? A. Very fine. I, like many others, was in search of a possible channel of communication, and I feel happy by having been provided with it. I want this to continue, twice a week. Please continue to associate me with the daily prayers. Bharati also narrates another experience when she suddenly encountered five astral bodies in August 1987 "While going to my study, I suddenly and unaccountably encountered five astral beings, with their backs to the wall of the room. They left in perfect peace after my request to let me alone. I could see them with bodies much like those of earth forms." A yogi friend of Bharati once asked her to summon a few souls from the astral world. She silently uttered the name of a female friend of hers who was dead. The friend appeared before her and she had had a chat with her. The yogi friend also saw her and she says that the description of bodily features that he later gave matched her earthly form. A lady employee of Punjab Government committed suicide. Her husband wanted to communicate with her soul and sought Bharati's help. He along with his mother and three year son met her, and had a two hour chat. What they talked about is not mentioned but while they were leaving, the old woman, mother-in-law of the deceased, fell down on the floor possessed by her daughter-in-law. The seance went on like this: Q. Madam, how did you happen to be here? A. I was present here since the beginning, and I feel happy by having overheard words of solace to my mother-in-law, my husband and my little boy. Let me first embrace my son whom I loved dearly, but I now repent having committed suicide. I don't know why? (She caught hold of her boy, put him in her lap, and started crying out aloud).
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Q. What sort of life are you now leading? Q. I am in a tormented state of mind, feeling miserable all the time, and lamenting over my folly in taking away my own life and separating myself from my people w h o m I loved so deeply. Q. Are you looking for help from any quarter? A. What help? I am like a condemned prisoner, hovering every time over the house which once truly belonged to me. I have learnt one thing from you and I am sure it will help me to call out some one at higher levels of existence and seek his or her help, and to surrender myself wholly to God and constantly pray to Him to rescue me and forgive my sin. Bharati says that death is not at all painful as is generally believed. The after-death state denotes peace and fearlessness. According to her, souls assume physical or astral bodies as per their karmas when alive. Some souls enjoy happiness for their good karmas while some souls suffer in their astral existence. Some are reborn to pay for or enjoy their past karmas. The exact criteria for transformation into astral bodies or human rebirth are unknown. GOOD DEEDS LEAD TO PEACE IN AFTER-LIFE However, good deeds or karmas make soul happy in astral existence. That's why we are advised to abstain from evil deeds and to be engaged in good pursuits. She says that those who suffer most in the astral world are drug addicts, sex perverts, murderers, alcoholics and suiciders. She quotes the aforesaid instance in which a woman Punjab Government employee commits suicide and repents copiously for it in the disembodied state. The spirits are, however, eager to communicate with their relatives and friends but they don't find the suitable medium. Only persons with developed pysche can communicate with them. One day Bharati was trying to contact the spirit of a friend of hers, when she came across 12 spirits all yearning to convey the message that they were all well, to their dear ones. One of them, an Indian H.R Gupta, gave his Delhi address and said that he was a Government employee. He wanted to inform his family that he was going to be reborn in his second son's
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family. Bharati observes that the spirits don't want to be called 'dead'. They feel that they are very much alive. ETHEREAL WORLD IS TIMELESS In their book Astral travel, Gavin and Yvonne Frost say, "In the mundane world, you are accustomed to the action/ reaction concept. When you do something, something happens. Time passes. You think of the physical world as an ordered, sequential place. As soon as you move into the spiritual realm, thoso concepts must be left behind. Time has no meaning in a place where now is the only time that exists. Night and day also cease to exist in a world of ethereal light." "Death changes its aspect. It is looked upon as a graduation from lower level of existence to a higher." "Geographical scenery, possessions, all of these things you can have of change by own imagination." "Any representations of the realms of the spirit world must necessarily be incomplete and fall short of a full explanation." I quote below some observations made by the disembodied entities through mediums about their life in the astral world. Some of these may match with each other while some may differ. From " Life here and
hereafter, automative writings received mostly through the pencil ofCharlette Elizabeth Dreson (sis) 1875":

"We are those who wish to send good news to earth and tell those we love that Heaven is Heaven after all, for we were of a company who scarcely believed in any life beyond grave, nor did we realize any God in the universe." "Question: What have you done all these years (in the othter world)? Answer: Oh, at first just study and research, just getting acquainted. The more study, an enquiry of knowledge with such ease became delight. And so the years have passed: pleasure, study, work for others, and through it an ever increasing pleasure. This is life as we know it here." "Ghosts are the uneasy spirits who have left some earth duty undone or some wrong unrighted, and they try to go back again. The
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spirit of one who has committed a crime, or who has wronged someone on earth, is never at rest until the wrong is made right. Let this be a lesson to evildoers." "We had a short trip to a nearby asterioid, for one thing: life only at its beginning. The vegetation not yet ready for animal life. But we found it interesting. But we were not gone a great deal at least it did not seem long to us. Then we have a sort of informal meeting of our circle to decide on plans for study and travel." "The spirit world encircles the earthly world, he (visitor from a far away plane) may be thousands of miles away and yet be within the boundary of this world. The higher planes lie beyond us only in space. We say higher more as a term of advancement than of location."
From "Flashes of light from the spirit world through the meidumship of Mrs J.H. Conan compiled by Allen Putnam (Boston 1872)":

"Externally the spirit body corresponds with natural body; but there is a constant internal change going on. As the spirit mentally becomes larger, more advanced in wisdom, the external takes on the changes of the internal; becomes more beautiful, more perfectly formal, more in accordance with the needs of the indwelling intelligence." "Question: Certain class of spirits, return and communicate often directly after they have left the form, but soon cease to come, and do not again manifest their presence for months or years. Please explain why this is so." Answer: In all probability they are so far absorbed in the scenes of their new life that they have not sufficient leisure to return to enable them to overcome the obstacles in the way. There must be a straight forward, positive will on the part of the returning spirit who would be successful."
From The spirit world its inhabitants, nature, and philosophy by Eugene Crowell, (1879) :

"Upon our passing over and first meeting our spirit friends, they have the power, by an exercise of the will, to appear to us as they appeared on earth, so that they shall be recognized by us, but as soon as we have reached our spirit homes they resume their proper spiritual appearance."
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"There is nothing unreal and spectral about the spirit world. This world, with its solid mountains, its rocks, ribbed coasts, its vast plains and vaster oceans, is not more substantial than and not so permanent and enduring in character as all that constitute that world; this in comparison from their side, is the shadowy land, theirs the real." "The spiritual body requires sustenance for its maintenance equally with the earthly. All spirits, excepting those who are earthbound, derive their substenance from fruit, but the latter are dependent upon the emanations of earthly food and animal substances, together with the sustaining elements whom they absorb from certain mortals with whom they are able to come into rapport."

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GHOST THAT KNOCKED ON THE DOOR


This real life story is about a friend of mine who died in South but his spirit travelled to Delhi and knocked on a door. Mr L.N. Sastry (changed name) was a retired Government officer. Humorous and well-informed, Sastry enjoyed the company of his close friends who like him were also retired Government officers, and met every evening in one of the parks in Mayur Vihar Phase II in East Delhi. They talked about politics, sky-rocketing real estate prices, inflation and also Telugu literary works, scriptures and mythology. Sastry took particular interest in the moral aberrations of Rishis and Gods and managed to give a good humoured erotic bend to the topics under discussion. I used to call on this small group of Andhra 'retirees' occasionally. Sastry was easily identifiable from a distance in his red shawl in winter which he wrapped round his Kurta clad tall figure. Sastry had worked in a Government organization in Delhi and after retirement had acquired a DDA flat in Mayur Vihar Phase II in the National Capital. He had a son who was working in a semi government office. His daughter was married and living somewhere in South. Sastry developed ailments common in the old age and received treatment for the same. The ailments occasionally caused concern. He used to visit his native place, Vijayawada, every winter, thus avoiding the extreme cold of Delhi and also fulfilling his annual obligation of visiting his close relatives. During one winter while Sastry was in Vijayawada, he fell ill. The doctor was called and he advised his immediate admission in the hospital. On admission he was taken to ICU. The doctors said that it was a case of severe heart attack and that all his relatives be informed.
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His son in Delhi was summoned immediately. Sastry's condition deteriorated as the hours passed by. Sastry's son Vijay (name changed) got the news of his father's serious condition in the night. Vijay had no ready cash to book railway tickets for himself and his family the next morning. He, therefore, thought of borrowing the money. Who could have enough ready cash and lend him? Obviously Narayanrao, his father's friend who lived in the same locality. Vijay met Narayanrao and apprised him of his predicament. Narayanrao promptly gave him the money and said, "I am sorry to know that Sastry is ill. Please book the berths for you and your family in the morning. Let me know about his health as soon as you reach there." Vijay booked the berths in the Vijayawada bound train the next day with the sum of three thousand rupees that he had borrowed from Narayanrao. When he reached Vijayawada, he came to know that his father had died the previous night. Thereafter, he got busy with the preparations for the last rites of his father. With a heavy heart he lit up the pyre of his father, and returned to his maternal grandmother's house, where he and his family had camped, in the evening. He was sitting in the drawing room talking to his uncle and relatives about his plans to visit Varanasi with his father's ashes to immerse them in Ganga. He heard his maternal grandmother calling him to herself in the backyard. "The tone seems to be odd. It's not like hers," he thought and said, "Yes, grandmother, I'm coming." As Vijay approached his grandmother, he saw her lying on a thick mat, not in her usual posture of reclining. Her eyes were wide and red. She was not batting her eyelids. "Son, I want to place my head in your lap and rest," said she. 'Why is she getting so emotional?' he thought. 'Yes, she is upset since father's death. Moreover, she is overcome with age,' he explained himself as he sat down and placed her head in his lap. She addressed him again in her unusual tone, "Son, when you return to Delhi, repay those three thousand rupees that you borrowed from Narayanrao promptly. Not that you will not repay. But I want it to be least delayed."
32 THE REAL LIFE E N C O U N T E R S WITH G H O S T S AND SPIRITS2

Vijay was aghast. He had not told anyone including his wife Savitri that he had borrowed any money from Narayanrao. And how could grandmother know the exact amount? She was also not familiar with Narayanrao. She may have heard his name from mother but not about the borrowed money. Moreover, grandmother never intruded into the financial affairs of his son-in-law and his family. "Yes, grandmother, I will repay it," said Vijay and was about to add, "How have you come to know about it?" when he noticed her posture. She was lying on her right side, feet bent and her left hand fiddling on her waist. 'Was it not the recumbent posture of father?1 wondered he. 'Did grandmother ever lie in this posture?' He couldn't recall. But anybody can rest in this manner, he convinced himself. Vijay looked at her yes. They still didn't bat. And they had become redder. "Grandmother! Are you all right?" he asked as he felt her wrist. It was not feverish. Then he asked, "Who told you about my borrowing money from anyone?" She didn't reply. Yes, his father was indeed very particular about repayment of money. "How would you feel if somebody to whom you loaned money in an emergency didn't pay it back in time? Remember that your creditor too would feel the same way if you delayed the payment," he used to say. 'Let not both your collection and payment overrun1 was his motto. In the meantime Savitri, his better half, whispered in his ears, "Are you still doubting? It's not your grandmother speaking. It's your father himself?" "Savitri!" the grandmother requested, "Please give me a glass of coffee." Father liked coffee prepared by Savitri. It was only she who made coffee for him. "Yes, father-in-law, I will make coffee for you," said Savitri as she hurried towards the kitchen. Vijay was flabbergasted. A rationalist, he never bothered about ghosts and spirits. But how could he explain the present miracle
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grandmother spouting the information that only he knew and that too mimicking his late father? Savitri brought a steel tumbler of steaming coffee holding it in a napkin and handed over to grandmother. Grandmother half lifted herself, took the napkin-wrapped tumbler into her hand and began sipping the semi-black liquid by grasping the brink of the tumbler with her lips. It was strange, the way she was drinking coffee! She was in the habit of pouring water or coffee into her slightly upturned mouth and then swallowing it in gulps, so that the tumbler remained untouched by lips. The tumbler should not be contaminated by lips. His father, of course, sipped the liquid straight through lips. Perhaps she coudn't lift herself well enough and that's why she was drinking coffee with the lips touching the tumbler. Grandmother paused after drinking half the coffee and, addressing Vijay's mother said, "See, Lakshmi, what a delicious coffee Savitri has made. Just taste it," and handed over the tumbler to mother. It was another habit of father's. He passed on the coffee to mother after drinking half of it. Mother dabbed her dampened eyes with her saree and took the glass. Grandmother wiped her mouth and said, "Son, Kapoor of Atlantic Property Dealers told me that we could get eleven and a half lakh if we sold the DDA flat that had been allotted to us recently. Sell it if you get eleven lakh." Perhaps grandmother knew about the allotment of DDA flat through hearsay but how could she know the prevalent market price? Father used to say that, that was the market price of the flat. But how could she know the names of the estate agency and its owner. There was no chance of her knowing these details. She didn't know English and her memory to remember English names or words was nil. What Savitri said now must be true. It's not grandmother speaking. It must be his father. His soul seems to have entered the body of his grandmother. He did not believe the other day when people rumoured that Ganesh idols were drinking milk. Just blind superstition, he told himself. But when he went and offered the milk to the idols of Shiva's
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family, he was stumped. The milk in the spoon evaporated as he held it to Ganesh's mouth. Where did the milk go? If it was as illusion, why didn't this phenomenon recur the next day or any other day after that. No doubt, it was his father's spirit speaking through grandmother. Grandma was pleading with Savitri, "You beat the children unnecessarily. Don't beat them." With tearful eyes Savitri replied, "Yes, father-in-law! I won't..." and the word "beat them" merged in her sobs. "Don't cry please. Why are you mourning? I am very happy and peaceful here. Death is not the end of life." Sister Pankajam was doubtful. Perhpas his soul was not content. "Father, brother has performed all the after-death rites. He is also going to Kashi to immerse the ashes in river Ganga. Are you not happy?" "Yes, I am happy. After some time, I will have to go to the higher worlds." "Any other rite you want to be performed?" "No. He has done and is doing whatever has to be done to appease my soul. I have been watching all the goings on myself," said grandmother. Vijay recalled what sister Pankajam had told him. She had arrived here late. "Brother, while I was coming here by train I saw the image of father in vision and I myself saw the scene of your taking father's body in a van for cremation. Father then narrated to me all the details of the last rites. I also saw who were sitting beside you," and the details and visuals she described matched the real happenings perfectly. Grandmother was talking on, "Son! I need not tell you to look after your mother, sister and children. I am praying to God to bestow happiness on you all. But as talking to you was necessary, I troubled this old lady. I will never trouble her again," said grandmother. Grandmother closed her eyes for some time and opened them as if awakening from deep slumber. "What's this, Vijay. I'm lying in your lap! I seem to have gone into good sleep," said grandmother getting up.
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Vijay went to Varanasi and immersed his father's ashes in the river Ganga. He then went back to Vijayawada to complete the rest of the rites like holding the big feast. In due course he returned to Delhi. It was midsummer and one day someone knocked the dcor of the flat belonging to Narayanrao in Mayur Vihar Phase II. Narayanrao's son, Murty, was ill and had to be admitted in the hospital. Narayanrao and his wife were away at the hospital attending on their son. Their daughter-in-law Renu was alone at home. Hearing the knock, she wondered why the visitor was not ringing the bell. There was no power failure either. Renu opened the door and what she saw was so shocking that she slammed the door shut and ran inside with her heart beating like battledrum. 'How? How is it possible?' the question kept ringing in her ears. This is what had happened. As she opened the door, she saw Sastry standing at the door. Though it was summer, he appeared in winter dress with his customary red shawl wrapped round his shoulders. And he asked, "How is Murty, daughter?" She was so taken aback by a dead man appearing before her and speaking that she closed the door and raced inward. The experience shook her so much that it took some days for her to become normal again. Sastry's spirit didn't give up and made another bid to know the welfare of his friend's son. It was dead of night. In the hospital Murty was on the bed in a dazed condition as a result of heavy medication. He was half asleep and there was nobody around. Suddenly a figure in red shawl approached him. 'How could anyone enter without opening the door?' he wondered. As the figure neared him, he saw it. It was Sastry, his father's friend. He had been told that Sastry had breathed his last in Vijayawada. Then how is he here? That too in red shawl in May. Didn't his son go to Vijayawada to perform his last rites? After returning, he had also come to see Murty in hospital. Before he could express his astonishment, the figure said, "Murty, how are you, my son?" Murty could hardly speak. He kept staring at the apparition with lips quivering. And then he mustered strength to let out a scream, "Sister!!!"
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By the time the sister came running, the figure had disappeared. "That was the ghost of Sastry, sister. I saw..." he mumbled as the sister felt his pulse. "Nothing to worry, Murty. You are all right. You need good sleep," said the nurse handing over a tranquillizer and a glass of water. The last I have heard of Sastry's after-death appearances was when my son-in-law's father C.S.S. Rao who was a great friend of Sastry told me that Sastry's spiritual visititions were continuing. He had no details.

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3
THE MOTHER'S SPIRIT THAT YEARNED FOR ITS BABIES
The following real-life story pertains to my maternal grandmother, who after death in an accident, could not overcome the worldly ties and travelled right upto Varanasi with her medium. About a hundred years back two sisters aged five and three years were playing in the house. Suddenly they quarrelled over the ownership of a wooden doll which was bigger than the other wooden doll. By the unwritten law that elder sibling has the right to bigger objects, the elder sister claimed it as hers while the younger sister contested her right to it. The dispute led to blows and the elder sister Ramamma knocked the younger sister on the head with the doll. The younger sister's wails resounded in the house. The younger sister Suramma, finding no help coming from any quarter, started crying louder. The children, Ramamma and Suramma, were motherless and were being brought up by their mother's sister, Narasamma, a widow staying in the house of Narasamma's brother Krishnamurty. Narasamma was not in the house. The wails of the child reached Parvatamma, wife of Krishnamurty. She usually did not pay much attention to the children. She was neither fond of them nor did she spite them. She adopted an attitude of imperviousness towards them. She had her own grown up children. When her husband's sister, Kamalamma, the mother of the children, had died in an accident, the message came to them the next day. Both of them reached the place immediately. They came to know that Kamalamma, her husband and children were crossing a rivulet in a bullock cart. The rivulet used to be known as 'thief stream' because
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the rivulet-bed would be bereft of water one moment and within a few minutes streams of water would come rolling on and engulf the rivulet-bed. Within a couple of hours water would be several feet deep. So, people were very cautious while crossing the rivulet in the rainy season. A road was laid on the rivulet-bed for traffic. When there was water in the rivulet, people crossed it either by wading through the waters or by boat. Kamalamma and family were crossing the rivulet when the water level was not high. But suddenly, a tide of water came rushing and upturned the cart. Kamalamma's husband was a swimmer. He fought with the gushing waters holding high his children with the help of the cartman and managed to reach the bank. But Kamalamma couldn't reach the bank and succumbed to the might of the overwhelming waters. After the last rights of Kamalamma were over, the question arose as to who would look after the children. The childless Narasamma, who stayed with her brother's family, volunteered to take care of the children. The sense of kinship was so strong in those days that no man could deny shelter to his sister's motherless children. Krishnamurty and his wife, though not willing to be burdened with the upbringing of two infants, had to express their consent to accept the enforced responsibility. Parvatamma never intervened in the disputes between the siblings. But today when she heard the cries of Suramma, she came racing to the child, lifted her and began kissing and fondling her. "Don't cry, my darling," she entreated to the baby, kissing her. Narasamma, who had just entered the house stood motionless. Parvatamma was busy becalming Suramma, "Oh! Ramamma has hit you? Don't worry. I will admonish her." She then sat down, putting Suramma on her feet and drew Ramamma to herself and hugging her showered kisses on her cheeks. "You should never beat your younger sister, Ramamma," she said soothingly. Ramamma looked surprised at this change in her aunt's conduct but the kids appeared to enjoy the unexpected dotting from their indifferent aunt.
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"See how I miss you," said Parvatamma as she broke down, seating the kids in her lap. Narasamma's astonishment mounted as she watched this change of heart in her brother's wife and her emotional outburst. Her last words puzzled her the most. Why should she be missing the kids when they were right in her house? Parvatamma and kids had not noticed Narasamma so far. "Sister-in-law, calm down. See the children are perturbed to see you crying," said Narasamma. Both the children ran towards her who patted them lovingly. "Yes, sister. I'll calm down. I am so gratefut to you..." Parvatamma was saying. Narasamma looked at her eyes. They were red, wide and unbatting. "Why are you calling me sister, sister-in-law?" asked Parvatamma, suspecting at the same time that her sister-in-law's changed attitude must be something to do with an unhearthly force. "What else should I call you? I am your siter Kamalamma. I came to see my children," said Parvatamma as she approached the children and sat down again drawing them into her lap. Narasamma said, "I am taking good care of them, Kamulu. You should not worry about them and be content wherever you are." "I can't be content without them, Narasamma. I'll occasionally come to see them," said Parvatamma kissing the kids. "But don't bother Parvatamma too often." "All right, I'm leaving." Parvatamma then became normal, looked around and batted her eyes. Seeing the children in her lap, she raised them to their feet and said, "Go out and play, girls." Addressing Narasamma she said, "I don't know what happened to me. I feel as if I had been in deep sleep." "Kamalamma had possessed you, sister-in-law. She had come to see her children." "My God! Poor woman's soul is wandering around. What can we do to give her soul peace?" "We have done all the rites. I will call a few Muttaidulu (women whose husbands are alive). You give them fruit, sarees, bangles with turmeric powder and kumkum. That will satisfy her."
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"Yes, sister-in-law." Despite the offerings made to the neighbouring Muttaidulu, the spirit of Kamalamma kept visiting the Krishnamurtv household through the lady of the house. Whenever it possessed Parvatamma, she cuddled and fondled the two children shedding tears. When the visits became frequent the family felt exasperated. "Why do you trouble your sister-in-law? We feel much harassed by your visits," they would complain. "I'm sorry but I come to see my children." "Don't worry for them. We are taking lots of care of them. Your sister Narasamma looks after them with the same care as you would have done," Krishnamurty would say. "I know. I am grateful to you all and God will reward you for your pains. Goodbye," possessed Parvatamma would say as the spirit departed. Kamalamma persisted in her visitations. Krishnamurty and the family consulted exorcists and spirit doctors and followed their directions. No amount of Pujas, Havans and exorcising rituals brought forth any results. Krishnamurty and familly took the spiritual possession as a quirk of fate and resigned themselves to the inevitable. It was Godavari Pushkaralu. Pushkaralu is held every 12 years to celebrate the piety of the river, like Kumbh in North. Krishnamurty and Parvatamma were in Rajamundry to take bath in Godavari. One day the couple was bathing in the river. While bathing Krishnamurty was offering Tarpan (water oblation) to his forefathers pronouncing the names of his father, mother, grandfathers, grandmothers, and close relatives when Parvatamma nudged him. He looked at her. Her eyes were dilated, red and unbatting. She said, "Brother, offer Tarpan to your brother-in-law too." Krishnamurty was aghast. Sister Kamalamma's husband, so far as he knew, was hale and hearty. He had even no news of his illness. Should he believe what Parvatamma or Kamalamma's spirit was saying? "What are you saying Kamalu? Suryam Bava is all right and there is no news that he has fallen ill."
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"What I'm saying is correct, brother. He died this morning of heart failure. Better offer him Tarpan," said Kamalamma through Parvatamma. Krishnamurty didn't answer. He decided to wait for the confirmation of the news. "I will offer Tarpan tomorrow, sister," said Krishnamurty. When Krishnamurty and his wife reached the place where they were camping in Rajamundry, a telegram was waiting for them. Krishnamurty guessed the most probable news it meant to convey. And his guess was on the mark. It was from the relatives of his brotherin-law and it carried the message of the sudden demise of his sister Kamalamma's husband due to heart attack. The couple immediately left Rajamundry to attend the last rites of the deceased relative. Now, I come to the part of the story in which I was a witness. I was a nine year old child then. My father P. Subbarao was Dewan in the Estate of Maharajkumar of Vizianagaram in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Maharajkumar was a famous cricketer and commentator, popularly known as Vizzy. He had led the Indian Cricket team to England in 1936. His estate was located in and around Varanasi, while his elder brother had inherited the estate in Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh. We were staying in a spacious Estate house near Vizianagaram Palace in Bhelupur in Varanasi. We often played host to, our relatives and friends from Andhra Pradesh who came on pilgrimage to the holy city. Once Krishnamurty and Parvatamma came on pilgrimage to Varanasi from Andhra Pradesh and were staying in our house. One evening as my mother, father, Krishnamurty and Parvatamma were chatting in the verandah, Parvatamma's tone suddenly changed. Her eyes dilated, reddened and stopped batting. She said in somewhat a husky voice addressing my mother, "Chinna, I have come to see you all." Chinna was my mother's pet name. Mother, though she knew about the recurring spiritual manifestation, was not prepared for the encounter and was taken aback.
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"I had been longing to see you and your family, Chinna. Where are your chilldren?" My mother gathered her senses and replied, "I'll call them, mother." She called all of us five brothers and presented us to her. "My daughter and her family are in Lucknow, mother." "I'm very happy to see your sons, Chinna. They will progress well in life. I know that your daughter is at Lucknow." My father was perhaps looking at this phenomenon with an agnostic eye and didn't participate in the conversation with the spirit. My eldest brother Nandiraju's health was at that time causing concern to my parents. He had to suspend his studies because of his undiagnosed ailment which caused epileptic fits in addition to congenital gastric disorder. Pointing to my eldest brother, my mother said, "Mother, he is your eldest grandson. He suffers from ill health and had to stop his studies now. How will he be? We are very much worried about his health and future?" Parvatamma looked at my eldest brother and said, "He will be all right, Chinna. He will live up to a ripe age. But he would be issueless. But don't worry, the adopted son would be as good as his own son, just as your husband had been to his foster father, Puligadda Nandiraju Garu. "What about his studies?" "He will study but only upto school level." Krishnamurty intervened, "Ask her why she doesn't leave us in peace. She promises to leave but never keeps her promise." Then mother asked the spirit, "Mother, you have been promising to leave aunt Parvatamma but why do you go on possessing her?" "Yes, Chinna. I will leave her. I just wanted to see you all. That wish of mine has been fulfilled now. I won't trouble her any more." "You promise?" "Yes, I promise." Immediately afterwards, Parvatamma became her normal self. On
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, the suggestion of Krishnamurty, mother gave her a glass of butter milk which she drank and cooled down. Thereafter my grandmother's spirit stopped possessing Parvatamma. Just as my grandmother's spirit predicted in regard to my eldest brother, his health turned normal except for his gastric disorder. He passed High School examination as a private candidate studying at home, joined Cooperative Bank in Vizianagaram and retired as a Manager. He has had no issues and adopted a close relative's infant son who has come up well in life now. And the adopted son looks upon his foster parents with the same affection and sentiment as a natural son. My eldest brother is going to be an octogenarian soon. Kamalamma's spirit was a real soothsayer.

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THE BENIGN SPIRIT THAT SHAPED ITS SON'S LIFE


Pyarelal Sharma was a member of the Psychical Research Society of New Delhi. He narrated to his fellow members how the spirit of his mother had been guiding him in life. He was a prolific writer and his Hindi books were included in the syllabus of Universities. Surprisingly, when he had started writing, he felt handicapped by his inadequate knowledge of Hindi. Once when Prof. Sharma was on a visit to Ambala, he fell ill. A thorn had pierced his sole. It was a minor wound and should have healed up within no time. But destiny has its own plans. The wound didn't heal up and resulted in swollen foot. He couldn't walk and had to be bed-ridden. The accompanying fever added to his plight. He not only felt physically miserable, he also found time hanging on his hands. Being active by nature he thought of doing something worthwhile to keep himself busy. He could read books but he wanted to do something creative. Suddenly, the saree clad figure of an old woman appeared before him. He was familiar with the figure, It was his mother who wTas dead. Whenever, he was on the horns of a dilemma the silent, and serene figure of his beloved mother would appear and advise him. He still recalled the day when he was visiting the Punjab University in Lahore to submit his thesis. It was only a month before India became independent. He was at the time the Head of the Department of History in Chief's College in Lahore. While teaching history, he wrote a thesis entitled "A Critical Story of Hysterical Dreams". His mother was alive then.
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He had paid the fees and was doing some writing as part of the procedure of submitting the thesis when suddenly his mother appeared before him. 'How has she come here?' he wondered. She was staying in their native village Manauli in the erstwhile state of Pepsu in Punjab. 'Perhaps she come here looking for me from the village. Someone must have told her that I was here,' he thought. But what was the urgency? When he saw her minutely, he found her peculiar, with a certain mysterious air about her. "I am your mother, Pyare but I am no more an earthbound being." "You are dead, Mother?" "Yes, my body is wating for you in Manauli. You have to perform my last rites. So leave Lahore urgently." He was shocked to hear this. "Yes, I will leave for Manauli today itself," he said in a horrified voice. "Not only you, Pyare. You must leave with your wife and children and with all your belongings. You will not be returning here." "But what about my thesis on which I laboured so hard?" "Don't give it a thought. You can write another thesis if you are alive. It's a question of life and death now. Save your life as also the lives of your family. Lahore will become an inferno soon." Sharma's mother then disappeared. What should he do now? He had profound respect and affection for his mother. His father had died in his early childhood and it was she who had played the roles of both father and mother and brought him up. He had never disobeyed his mother and he resolved now too to go by her advice, or her spirit's advice. Sharma felt depressed to know that his mother was no more. Overcome with sadness, he sought a lonely place and wept like a child. He gave up the idea of submitting the thesis. When he returned home, he told his wife about his encounter with his mother's spirit and her advice to him to leave Lahore immediately. His wife also felt that they must follow her mother-in-law's advice. "My mother-in-law was a very pious lady blessed with a rare intuitive power. She cannot be wrong," his wife assured him.
4 8 THE REAL LIFE E N C O U N T E R S WITH G H O S T S AND SPIRITS3

They cleared the dues of the landlord and told him that they were returning to the village for the funeral of Sharma's mother. "We may have to stay in the village for sometime. Hence we are leaving for good," they said. They packed their valuable belongings and whatever else they could carry and bid goodbye to Lahore. In any case Sharma had not established a big household in Lahore. They reached Manauli the same evening to find that what the spirit had told Sharma was true. His mother had died in the morning. Communication system was not well developed in those days and perahps there was some delay in the sad news reaching Lahore from that remote village. The villagers were anxiously waiting for Sharma and when they saw him, they felt relieved. They were thinking of disposing of the body on their own if Sharma had not turned up in time. Sharma consigned his mother's physical remains to fire and performed the due last rites. In the beginning of August, 1947, the communal riots broke out and by the day of formal bifurcation of subcontinent, i.e. 14th August, 1947, the entire city of Lahore had burst into flames. 'Yes,' thought Sharma, 'if mother had not cautioned me to leave Lahore when the going was good, perhaps I and my family would have turned into past tense,' and bowed to the memory of his dear mother. As mentioned in the beginning of this story, Prof. Pyarelal lay in his bed with the swollen foot in Ambala and craved for an activity to overcome his boredom. Just at that moment, his mother appeared before him and said, "Pyare, I have come to see you. How are you feeling?" "The injury and the swollen foot is not causing me as much agony as the boredom due to confinement to bed." "This is a blessing in disguise, son. Don't worry. You will be all right and will create a literary work that will earn you good fame and money." "I am indebted to you for what you did for me when alive and I am doubly indebted to you when you have become a goddess, mother." "Are you not my only son? Now, listen. You take u p writing in Hindi."
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"In Hindi?" "Yes, a novel in Hindi." "My Hindi is not very strong, mother." "May be. But you try. I will help you. I suggest the title of the novel as Chalti Phirti Deewaren." Sharma was wonderstruck. How could his mother, an illiterate, be so creative? The afterlife had perhaps evolved her into an advanced soul. Sharma had studied in English and taught in English. He had written his thesis in English. How could he write in Hindi? He could read, write and speak in Hindi but that was all. Writing a novel in Hindi was something he could never do. But his mother had instructed him to write the novel and he had no alterative but to obey her. Moreover, she assured him that she would help. When his mother appeared before him next time, she gave him the outline of the plot and its development. He started writing the novel. She appeared off and on and guided him in the unfoldment of the story. By the time he recovered, the novel Chalti Phirti Deewaren was complete. Surprisingly, when he submitted the manuscript to Bharat Bharati Prakashan, the publishers, they accepted it for publication. The novel was so much appreciated by both the laity and literati that it was included in the syllabus for M.A (Hindi) course of the Chandigarh University. Sharma wrote several books, all under the guidance of his late mother. His novel Leharon Se Poochhiye was included in the syllabus of M.A. (Hindi) course of the Rajasthan University. Sharma proudly said that the preface of this novel was written by no less a person that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He had an uninterrupted rapport with his mother's spirit. Whenever he wanted her guidance, he prayed to her and she appeared before him. K.C. Vyas was a member of the Pyschical Research Society, New Delhi and is a scholar. He lives not far from my residence and is a good friend of mine. I gained a lot of information and knowledge on the subject of this book from my discussions with him. He told me once
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that the fellow members of the Psychical Research Society, New Delhi requested Sharma to get in touch with his mother and tell them about the other world in a lecture. Sharma nodded. In due course, he prayed to his mother and she appeared. He then requested her to take him to the other world. She said that no living person could go there and so, she would describe the features of the world. He answered that nothing short of a visit to that ethereal world would satisfy him. Seeing his persistence, she agreed to try to take him there. "I will try my best to take you," she promised. Sharma, sure that his mother's attempts to take him to the other world would fructify, asked Dr. Balbir Singh, President of the Society to arrange for his lecture. The lecture was fixed on the 15th January, 1989. But as ill luck (or good luck) would have it, Sharma found himself in hospital in September, 1988. He was hit by a motorcycle near Red Fort in Delhi and was hospitalised with a fractured leg. He had become unconscious. In that unconscious state he observed his ethereal body emerging from his physical body and floating in the void. His mother too was floating with him and she grasped his hand. It was pitch dark all around. After floating in the darkness, they entered a brilliantly lit space that made him blink. His mother then covered his eyes which, surprisingly, made him see clearly. What he was seeing now was a shining orb omitting golden rays. There was an enchanting heavenly music all around. Sitting near the shining orb were human forms deep in meditation. Sharma felt that the shining orb was the symbol of Supreme Being. Several spirits were going round the orb. Sharma recovered from his injury well before the 15th January, 1989, the date fixed for his lecture, and narrated his experiences in the other world.

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20 YEARS OF LIFE WITH SPIRITS


Here is a real-life story that revolves round a friend of mine and proves that some spirits can be noble and some can be devilish. It also signifies the fact that a psychic person can house many spirits at a time in his body. This series of incidents start from the year 1970 when Mr S.S. Aggarwal was posted in the village Kudarkot near Achaldah railway station in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh. He was civil engineer in the irrigation department of U.P Government. It was a beautiful evening. The sun had departed leaving behind a dusky landscape. Aggarwal and his mother were sitting in the verandah enjoying the cool breeze and chatting when they sighted a strange object in the sky. It was an orb of fire going across the sky. "Son, what do you think about that bright object?" "It looks very strange, mother. I have never seen such a thing in my life." "It must be a great soul which, after leaving its earthly form has been on a journey in its quest for its next destined abode." "You may be right, mother," replied Aggarwal. In the meantime, the fiery object disappeared in the sky. Next morning, as Aggarwal was leaving for the site of duty, he ran into Ramdas, a villager, who was coming to see him. "Sir, have you heard this news," said Ramdas, "Mangal Kahar's wife has delivered a strange male baby?" Being a government officer, Aggarwal enjoyed a special status in the eyes of the villagers who held him in high esteem. So, the villager thought it his duty to convey the queer news to him.
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"Tell me first, did you see the fire ball travelling in the sky last evening?" "Yes, we have all seen it, sir. But we couldn't make out what it was. Nobody in the village had ever seen such a strange object." "My mother says it must be a great soul travelling to its destination." "Yes, sir." "Now, tell me about the strange baby." "Now, I see, sir, that the great soul travelling in the sky and the birth of the odd baby are linked. People in the village say that the baby was surely a sage in its previous birth." "Now, tell me what's strange about the baby?" "The baby was born in the sitting posture with his hair bound in a bun at the back of his head and has three natural lines on the forehead as if they were sandalwood marks." "Let us go and see the baby," said Aggarwal postponing official duties for some time and heading towards the house of Mangal Kahar. Kahar is a caste whose members carry water and bear palanquins. On reaching Mangal's house, Aggarwal found a large crowd there. People were coming to see the strange baby. Many were paying respect to the sage-baby by folding their hands in Namaskar and a few lying headlong in Sashtang Pranam before the baby. Some were chanting the name 'Ram Ram.' Aggarwal was told that the baby had died. People gave way to him as he entered the thatched house. He saw the baby and asked Mangal, the baby's father, as to how it died. What he was told about the baby's death was stranger than its birth. "The baby, immediately after birth, took a high jump and crashed against the wall. That put an end to its life, sir," said Mangal. "Strange are the ways of Almighty sir. Perhaps, the sage was not happy to be born and wanted salvation from this cycle of life and death," opined a somewhat knowledgeable villager. Yes, the baby had resemblance to a sage and looked more than ninety years old. The dead baby was in a sitting position with his hands
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in his lap. The neck was surprisingly upright. When someone raised the hands, the baby replaced them in his lap. The baby's heart, pulse and breathing were checked and it was confirmed that they had all ceased to function. It was decided collectively by the villagers that the baby must be given a decent burial as it was not an ordinary soul. Aggarwal guided the villagers in burying the baby at a suitable spot with all the fanfare. Later he had a Samadhi built on the spot with contributions. After this event, he found himself facing weird situations for full 26 years of his life. It all started with a lady in his family talking in the tone of a man. The lady was lying on a cot one day when suddenly she sat up and declared in male voice, "I am the head priest of Balaji temple." This spirit gave Aggarwal an agonizing time in the beginning when it was continuously in a furious mood but subsequently it softened and helped him occasionally. The head priest's spirit started issuing orders that were both cumbersome and expensive. Mr. Aggarwal couldn't refuse to oblige the spirit as he feared that a displeased spirit would make his and his family's life miserable. Nevertheless, he expressed his objections but the spirit would reassure him of smooth sailing. "I am here to help you Don't have any doubts," it would say. One day, the spirit said, "I want to hold a big feast in the village in which all the villagers will participate. But I dont want the cooking for the feast to be done in the present makeshift kitchen." It was true that the kitchen was in the open yard with thatched roof and clay walls. "Then what do you want?" asked Aggarwal. "I want a pucca kitchen." "For that I will have to talk to the landlord. And it may take time." "I want to hold the feast within a week." "Within a week?" asked Aggarwal. "Not full week but less than that. Let us move over to Al'igarh, your native place, so that the kitchen is built in the meantime. Pack up this very hour. We are leaving."
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Aggarwal was aghast. "Where's time to catch the train? The train to Etawah comes at 12 in the night." To travel to Aligarh, Aggarwal and family had to catch the train to Etawah at the Achaldah railway station and change the train at Etawah to reach Aligarh. "Dont worry. Do as I say." "Let me request the landlord to build the kitchen." "No need now. You can write to him from Aligarh." Aggarwal had his own reservations about a letter reaching Kudarkot, a remote village, from Aligarh within a reasonable time, for the kitchen to be built within a couple of days. There was also no surety that the landlord, who was also a part time postal employee, would agree to do the job. Aggarwal had another problem. "I have to inform my bosses about my absence," he said. "I assure you nobody were take notice of your absence." Aggarwal had a logistical problem right now. It was night and how to get a cart to reach the station. He said as much. "Go out and see. There will be bullock cart near the farms outside the village. Ask the driver to take us to Achaldah railway station." Aggarwal was flabbergasted. Achaldah was around 12 miles away and the bullock journey on a rough dirt track could take too long a time to reach the station in time to catch the train. There was no use arguing with the spirit and so he and his family packed up for the journey. He went out to look for a cart and sure enough there was the bullock cart parked by a farm on the outskirts of the village. Though it was night, the cartman readily agreed to take him and his family to the Achaldah railway station. By the time they started off, it looked impossible to reach the railway station in time to catch the train. The cart made its way on the dirt track at its usual leisurely pace with the cartman urging the bullocks to move faster through his odd vocal sounds and lashings.
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Robberies and holdups were quite common on this road. A gang of robbers would be waiting behind the undergrowth or at turnings and ambush the travellers. It was already 12 O'clock in the night and the train would have arrived and he could not refrain from announcing, "It's 12 now and the train would have arrived and may leave soon." "Don't you worry. It may be late," said the spirit. "May be late by an hour or so but we are are only just halfway to the station." Trundling over the rough track in a bullock cart in the night is a painful experience. You don't count time in seconds and minutes but in hours only. "I assure you that we will catch the train. Let no doubts bother you," said the spirit. Aggarwal didn't express his second doubtthe threat of robberies. He could well expect the reply from the spirit. Soon the feared threat stared on his face as the cart reached a makeshift bridge over a canal. There was at the head of the bridge a group of sturdy wrestler-like youngmen with sticks in hands. They looked every inch of their tall frames for what they were highway robbers. Aggarwal's heart had started pounding as he expected the loud threatening voices asking him to surrender whatever valuables he and his family possessed. But what he heard was the most surprising words, the words that sounded like the sweet cooing of birds to him. "Do you need any help, sir?" they asked. "No thank you! We are in a hurry to catch the train," said Aggarwal immensely relieved, and urged the cartman to speed up. As he feared, he and his family arrived long past midnight at the Achaldah railway station. A big surprise, however, awaited him at the Achaldah railway station. The passenger train to Etawah that was to arrive at 12 O'clock in the night was two hours late and was halting at the station. But it was about to leave. As soon as Aggarwal bought the tickets, loaded the luggage and boarded the train along with his family, it steamed off as if it was only waiting for them. They reached Etawah and from there caught another train to Aligarh.
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After reaching Aligarh, Aggarwal wrote a postcard following the directions of the spirit and posted it to his landlord. In the communication, Aggarwal requested his landlord to construct a pucca kitchen in place of the kutcha one to facilitate the holding of a mass feast for the entire village. He assured his landlord that on return he would reimburse the expenses incurred by him on rebuilding the kitchen. But how would the postcard reach the village so soon? It would take at least three or four days for the humble communication to be delivered to the landlord. And when would he construct the kitchen? The spirit insisted on the feast to be organized in a couple of days. The pucca kitchen was a must if the residents of the entire village were to be feasted. The spirit wanted the entire village to participate in the grand feast. As usual, Aggarwal couldn't hold himself from expressing his doubt about his landlord receiving the message in time. "Have faith in me. The kichen would be built and the feast will be held," assured the spirit. Surprisingly the postcard reached the landlord by the afternoon of the same day that Aggarwal had posted it. This fact was confirmed by the landlord when Aggarwal and his family returned to the village on the third day. The landlord showed him the postcard. This was the most surprising thing, almost a miracle, the way postal department functioned in those days, particularly in the rural areas. It was impossible for a postcard to be delivered in a remote village, about 100 miles away from its place of posting, on the same day. Even in the present times, a postcard cannot travel that fast. Yet another surprise awaited Aggarwal. The kitchen was ready. The mass feast was organized with all the residents of the village being invited and fed sumptuous meals. Various dishes were cooked in the newly built kitchen. Yet another surprise was that none of his colleagues or seniors questioned him about his absence for three days. The feast no doubt set Aggarwal back by a big sum but he swallowed the bitter pill to humour the exacting spirit of the dead priest of Balaji of Mehndipur.
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After the feast was over, the spirit ordered Aggarwal, "Leave Kudarkot and reach Etawah with all your household goods and family." "What will I do there? I am posted here in Kudarkot." "You are going to receive your transfer orders to Etawah. Fold up your camp here and depart." "But I have to arrange for a rented house in Etawah before going there." "All that will be taken care of, rest assured," said the spirit. Going by the past events, Aggarwal couldn't disbelieve the spirit. It always kept its word. So, Aggarwal immediately engaged a truck, loaded his household belongings on it and left for Etawah with his family. Reaching Etawah, he stopped at a place and made enquries for a suitable house on rent. There was a house just nearby where the truck stopped. He went there and met the landlord. "Yes, I have accommodation for renting out. It was vacated recently and I am looking for a reliable person to hire it. Do you know anybody here?" "I don't know anybody at present, but I am an Engineer in the Irrigation Department. I am to be posted here. I can produce a guarantor after I join duty here. I will show you the documents to prove my identity, for the time being." "No need of it, friend. I believe you. How is that you have come here with all your household without fixing a house?" "I will tell you later in detail, sir. Suffice it to say that I had to vacate my house in Kudarkot in a hurry. I was sure to get some accommodation as I am a government servant." After the rent was settled, the new landlord said, "All right. You can move in." After shifting the belongings to the new accommodation in Etawah, Aggarwal locked up the house and travelled with his family to Aligarh, his native place where he owned a house, to spend the time while waiting for his transfer orders. And the transfer orders did come! The spirit of the head priest of Balaji temple made very hard demands, like mass feast in Kudarkot that burnt a big hole in Aggarwal's pocket. But at times the spirit also came to his rescue.
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He had built a small place of worship in his house with a curtain masking the sacred idols before which he offered prayers everyday. When he was hard pressed for money, he solicited help from that quarter. After some time when he removed the curtain, he would find cash in crisp currency notes there. He had to, of course, repay the money whenever it was avilable to him, by placing the curency notes back on the same spot. The cash would disappear when he removed the curtain next time. The spirit told him once that it had taken ghostly form because as the head priest of Balaji temple in Mehnidpur he used to lust after a woman. The gold ornaments worn by the possessed lady would disappear on thier own and would never appear. Some other times, the evil spirit would ask for the gold ornaments that the lady is wearing and she would remove them without a murmur of protest and hold them in her palms and close them. When she opened the palms, the ornaments would disappear. The books and clothes in the house would suddenly catch fire and burn up. The worn clothes would be torn as if slit by a sharp blade. Aggarwal complained to the priest's spirit, "I am doing whatever you desired. Still you cause me losses by destroying my belongings. Is it how you reward a persom for carrying out your orders?" "No, my son. I am not causing these damages. Some evil spirits are also inhabiting the body of this lady. They are indulging in those destructive acts." "Can't you help me by controlling those evil spirits?" "I am doing my best to control those wicked spirits. But they are so mighty that I am finding it almost impossible to restrain them." One day the priest's spirit spoke, "I am now departing, son. I am sorry I have not been able to drive away the wicked spirits that have overtaken this lady. I thank you for all that you have done for me. May you and your family prosper in life!" After that the spirit of the priest did not poseess the lady. Aggarwal, in the meantime, became a devotee of Balaji of Mehndipur inRajasthan and took the family there for exorcisation of the evil spirits that possessed the lady in his family.
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Aggarwal says the common belief that the evil spirits become powerless within the precints of Balaji temple did not prove to be true during his and his family's stay there. When the possessed lady was taken there, the spirit within her said, "So you brought me here without telling me, so that you could drive me out? Don't worry I have already taught you a lesson." "What the spirit said was true. We didn't tell the lady that we were going to Balaji and brought her here on the sly," said Aggarwal to me. When the spirit said that it had already taught him a lesson, Aggarwal was alarmed. "What have you done?" he asked in an excited voice. "All the clothes which you hung on the rope in the Dharmshala have vanished. Go and see," said the spirit. Aggarwal and his family hurried to Dharmshala to find the clothes on the line missing. The spirit told them, "All the clothes were blown outside. The sweeper collected them and took them home." Aggarwal contacted the sweeper and requested him to return his clothes. He also offered him a tip of five hundred rupess for returning the clothes. When Aggarwal brought the bundle of clothes to Dharmshala, the possessed lady ordered him to return it to the sweeper. Aggarwal knowing that not complying with the orders of the spirit would lead to more grievous consequences, took the bundle back to the sweeper and returned it to him. Thus, he not only lost his clothes but also the five hundred rupees that he gave to the sweeper as a tip. Aggarwal's grandmother stayed in Aligarh in the house which Aggarwal had built. She was staying there permanently. She was a jovial type with a bright smile lighting up her face. The smile of the good old lady would show up the gold tooth in her mouth. When she fell ill in the old age, her second son brought her to Delhi for treatment. She was afflicted with some stomach ailment. A surgical operation was performed on her but it was not successful and she died. Aggarwal rented out the Aligarh house to a family, keeping a part of it for himself. The tenants of this house reported to Aggarwal during one of his
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visits to Aligarh that they were seeing a mysterious old lady moving around in the house. "How does she look?" asked Aggarwal. "A very old lady with white hair and white saree. She has a tooth of gold." "That must be my grandmother's spirit. She had, of course, a tooth of gold. I will have the necessary rituals performed to appease her soul." Aggarwal performed Havan and a Swamiji cleansed the house with Ganga water while reciting exorcisation mantras. Her spriit stopped haunting Aggarwal's house but he was now faced with a more serious problem. Her spirit started possessing the lady in the family, along with the evil ones which were already within her. "I am your grandmother," announced the spirit one day. "Can you prove that you are my grandmother?" queried Aggarwal. "Sure, son. Bring me a photograph of mine with others in it and I will point out myself." Photography in her times was rare. Aggarwal looked for the old family photographs featuring her but failed to locate anyone. Nor was there any individual photograph of hers so that he could mix it up with others and ask her to identify it. He happened to mention this to a gentleman during his visit to Aligarh. The gentleman was very old and a family friend. He thought over this problem and said, "Yes, she is there with your grandfather in a group photograph taken at Sanatan Dharm Sabha during a function. It is on the wall there." It was a huge photograph and Aggarwal located his grandmother and grandfather in it. He met the head of the Sanatan Dharm Sabha and told him about the manifestation of his grandmother's spirit through a lady in his family. "I want to confirm that it's my grandmother's spirit by making her identify herself in a photograph. Dharm Sabha has a group photograph in which she is also present. Could you lend it to me for a few hours?"
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The head also got interested in this supernatural enigma. Moreover, he knew the gentleman who had told Aggarwal about the existence of the group photo and sent him there. He readily agreed to lend the photograph. "Let me also know the result," he said. When Aggarwal showed the huge photograph containing about 200 faces to the possessed lady, she peered at it attentively. The faces were as miniscule as peas and it took a long spell of suspense for the spirit to scrutinize all the faces. After what appeared to be ages, the lady placed her index finger on a face and exclaimed, "Here I am." Yes. She was cent per cent correct. As a child he was familiar with his grandmother. "Now show me my grandfather." Aggarwal asked. She pointed to a man sitting on a chair and said, "Here is your grandfather. I am sitting at his feet on the floor," she said. She had hit the bull's eye this time too. Yes, that was his grandfather. The possessed lady had never seen his grandmother or grandfather. Aggarwal's kin used to speak in whispers about his uncle having purloined the grandmother's tooth after her death by having it extracted. 'Why not have the doubt cleared,' thought Aggarwal and asked, "Grandmother, there is a talk that uncle removed your golden tooth for himself after you were dead." "It's all nonsense, son. I have my golden tooth with me even today," she replied. "How could you possess a material thing like a golden tooth when you yourself don't have physical existence?" asked Mr Aggarwal. "You can't imagine what powers we have, son." There was also another talk of his uncle not getting the grandmother proper treatment in Delhi as a result of which she was said to have died. He also wanted this mystery also to be cleared. "Grandmother, uncle took you to Delhi for treatment. But they say that he couldn't get you proper treatment?" "No, my son. He admitted me in the best hospital and got me the best treatment. But it was due to the fault of the surgeon that I had died.
6 4 THE REAL LIFE E N C O U N T E R S W I T H G H O S T S A N D SPIRITS4

Had he not left the scissors in my stomach, I would have lived for twelve years more." It was news for Aggarwal and his family. They all knew that uncle had admitted her in a very good hospital. Aggarwal himself had visited her in the hospital. The relations however, ascribed her death to lack of proper treatment in the hospital. It was now clear that her death occurred as a result of negligence on the part of the surgeon, i.e. leaving the scissors in her innards. This piece of vital information was confirmed by uncle who said that he didn't share it with others in the family for a particular reason. He was afraid of the fact that the matriarch of the family had died of a human error may rankle in their minds for ever. One day Aggarwal happened to mention the name of a distant relation to grandmother's spirit. "Do you remember Prasad uncle, grandmother?" he asked her. "We haven't heard of him for a long time," he added. "He is with me, son." "What do you mean, grandmother? He must be hale and hearty. We haven't heard any bad news about him." "He is no more living in Mrityulok. He has joined us two months back." "It can't be true, grandmother. Otherwise, we would have come to know." "You can check up for yourself." Aggarwal promptly wrote a letter to Ram Prasad, known as Prasad uncle and wanted to know about his welfare, since he heard no news from him. He received a reply from Ram Prasad's son : "Dear Shyam Bhaiyya, I received your letter asking father to let you know about our welfare. I am sorry to inform you that our father expired suddenly of heart failure on 2nd March this year. I informed all our relatives including you. Since you were under transfers, the letter might have
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missed you. Nevertheless, I beg your pardon for failing to convey the news to you. We are all well. Hope the same with you. Your obedient brother Vikas Aggarwal's woes lasted twenty six long years and ended with the death of the haunted lady of the family. He had sought the help of the famed exorcists and taken the lady to several Ojhas and holy places but to no avail. He views the past as a punitive phase in his life for the sins committed in the previous life. He observes that the spirits are very powerful. Some can be generous while others may make life hell. Aggarwal is now leading a happy retired family life.

66

A DEAD PILOT TALKS TO HIS WIFE


Mrs Beatrice Earl of Surrey, England was in the habit of using Ouija Board to communicate with the dead. In the evening of 31st March, 1928 she was to communicate with the spirit of her son who had died in the First World War. She was a member of the London Spiritualist Alliance and had been receiving messages from the deceased son through a medium called Mrs Eileen Garrett in the seances held at the Alliance. Garrett's voice during the seance turned manlike and assumed oriental tones. The voice claimed to belong to one 'Uvani', an Indian. As the Earl held the indicator of Ouija Board, it started moving guided by an invisible force. It moved over a series of letters as she noted them down. The message that formed now was surprisingly not from her son but from somebody else and said, "Can you help a men who was drowned?" Shocked, Earl asked, Who are you? "I was drowned with Elsie Mackay." She had read in newspapers that a pilot named Capt. Raymond Hinchcliffe and his companion had taken off on 13th March, 1922 on the international flight from Grantham, England to the USA and that their small aircraft Endeavour was reported missing. It was indeed a very daring feat as all the previous attempts by the other pilots had failed. May be it is the same pilot, she thought and asked, "Who are you?" "I'm Hinchcliffe. Tell my wife I want to speak to her. I am in great distress." Earl was aghast as she did not know the person or his wife. She wound up the seance. After a break of ten days, she again tried the
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Ouija Board. In fact, she couldn't stop herself from operating the Ouija Board. This time the message read, "Tell my wife I want to speak to her." "Where shall I find her?" she questioned compiling the words with the indicator. "Purley. If letter does not reach apply Drummonds High Street Croydon." She had not heard about Drummonds though Purley and Drummonds were suburbs of London. She decided to wait. The next day when she took u p the Ouija Board, the message read: "Hinchcliffe. Please let my wife know. Earl, I implore you." "It is such a terrible risk. She won't believe, perhaps," she said. "Take the risk. My life was all risks. I must speak to her," was the reply. She decided to do something about it. She consulted the telephone directory. She found 'Drummonds' at No. 4 High Street. It had a crossreference to a law firm named Edridges, Martin and Drummonds at the same address. She wrote to Mrs Hinchcliffe, Care of Edridges, Martin & Drummonds enclosing a copy of the messages received from the spirit of Mr Hinchcliffe. At the same time, she also wrote a letter to the famous detective author turned spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle, who was also associated with London Spiritualist Alliance, along with the copies of the messages received from the spirit of Hinchcliffe. Now let us have a look at the intercontinental flight of Capt. Raymond Hinchcliffe and his companion Elsie Mackay. Hinchcliffe, a youngman in early thirties, was an ace pilot and had served during the First World War. He was awarded Britain's Distinguished Flying Cross. He wore a patch on his left eye as he had lost it during action against Germans. As a commercial pilot, however, he had logged 9000 hours of flying time. His co-pilot was Elsie Mackay, 34, an actress and daughter of shipping magnate James Lyle Mackay known as Lord Inchcape. Elsie was his hieress. Hinchcliffe nurtured a dream to cross the Atlantic by air and Elsie shared his dream. She wanted to be known as the first woman to
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perform such a cross-Atlantic air feat. She communicated with Hinchcliffe through the British Air Ministry. She assured Hinchcliffe a reward of 10,000 for the successful flight with life insurance cover of another 10,000. Ten thousand pounds meant a fortune in those days. For Hinchcliffe this meant not only fame for himself but also honour for Great Britain. Hinchcliffe consulted his wife and both agreed that this was a lifetime opportunity, particuarly as Hinchcliffe had not much flying career left. As Elsie didn't want his father to know that she was flying across Atlantic, she made it known that another pilot Capt. Gordon Sinclair was to be the co-pilot on the flight. Had her father known that his daughter Elsie was attempting a cross-Atlantic flight with Hinchcliffe, he would have never allowed her to embark on such a dangerous adventure. Hitherto, cross-Atlantic flights had never been successful and had taken a heavy toll of life. Just before the take off, Elsie was to replace Capt. Sinclair. Hinchcliffe prepared his monoplane for the long flight for about two weeks and was ready for the takeoff on 13th March, 1928 morning from Cranwell aerodrome, near Grantham. At 8.35 a.m., Elsie got into the cockpit in the place vacated by Capt. Sinclair. The tiny plane took off. Emilie Hinchcliffe came to know that a lighthouse keeper at Mizen Head, County Cork had seen a monoplane resembling Endeavour at 1.30 p.m. on 13th March 1928. Also a French steamer reported that as it was passing through squall and snow it had seen a plane flying over it. It was the last she had heard about her husband's flight. Whatever news she received subseuqently about her husband didn't belong to the realm of natural phenomena. Emilie Hinchcliffe waited in vain for the news about her husband. She finally concluded that he must have met a fatal accident. Her financial position was weakening day by day. She then approached the family lawyers Edridges, Martin & Drummonds on High Street in Croydon for the insurance money of her husband. The law firm enquired and informed her that Elsie had indeed insured Capt. Hinchcliffe's life, but her cheque had bounced on
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account of insufficient funds in her account. The reason for her cheque being dishonoured was, her estate was frozen and was in the trusteeship of her father Lord Inchcape. So, the Insurance Policy had not materialized at all. A mother of two kids 4 year old daughter Joan and an infant son Pam Emilie then appealed to Lord Inchcape for financial help but there was no reply from the latter. In the meantime Emilie received Beatrice Earl's letter on 13th April, 1928. Since she didn't believe in life after death, she was undecided. Mr Conan Doyle, who got Earl's letter, thought it would be better if the message received by Earl was checked through a reliable medium. Eileen Garrett, who was a member of Alliance, was well-known for her psychic powers. She was a gifted medium and had acted as a medium for the spirit of Earl's son. In the seances she spoke mostly in the voice of her control, Uvani, who was an Indian. Born in Beauparc, County Meath, now in Republic of Ireland, on 17th March, 1893, Garrett was brought up by his uncle and aunt, since her parents had died in her infancy. Her first para-psychological experience was her encounter with her deceased uncle. She writes in her autobiography Many Voices that two weeks after her uncle's death, "one evening my dead uncle 'appeared' to me in a vision. Younger and more alert than I had known him, his Vandyke (pointed) beard was well clipped and he stood strong and straight. He told me that in time I should leave my aunt and the farm and go to London..." Though hitherto she was disinterested in religion. Now on she developed a propensity towards spiritualism. She moved over to London and married an architect who in due course divorced her. She had two children from him but unfortunately they died in an epidmeic. She then married an armyman who went to the front. She had a vision of her husband being blown up in a blast, while she was dining in Savoy hotel. A few days later she got the news that her soldier husband was missing, believed killed. She married for the third time another armyman James William Garrett. After the Second World War, she came in contact with Hewat Mckenzie, Director of the British College of Pyschic Science and started
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realizing her extra-sensory powers. Once she was meditating with others in a group in the London Spiritualist Alliance when she slipped into a trance and started speaking in a male voice which claimed to be that of Uvani, an Indian soldier belonging to an era, centuries back. Uvani conveyed messages from the dead relatives of the members of the meditation group. It was in such seances of Garrett that Earl got in touch with her deceased son. Conan Doyle, after receiving the letter from Earl with the messages of late Hinchcliffe, thought it best to verify them through Garrett, who also happened to be his friend. When Garrett agreed to help him, he arranged a seance to which he invited Earl too. In the seance, Uvani spoke through Garrett and informed that Hinchcliffe had to divert his flight to South in the face of strong winds and had gone astray by 800 km before running out of fuel. Uvani further said that Hinchcliffe was very anxious to talk to his wife. He also added that Emilie Hinchcliffe was not English and that she had a small baby. May be she had another baby too. Conan Doyle then wrote to Mrs Hinchcliffe. Alluding to Earl's letter to her, he mentioned that a second medium had corraborated the messages received from her husband Capt. Hinchcliffe. Conveying the second medium's (Garrett's) information that she (Mrs Hinchcliffe) was not English and that she had one kid and probably second one too, he requested her to confirm it. Mrs Hinchcliffe met Earl on May 19, 1928 and talked to her in detail. They decided to communicate with Hinchcliffe's spirit through Garrett a faster medium than the Ouija Board. As planned, they met Garrett at the London Spiritualist Alliance. Garrett told her that Uvani's voice could at times be replaced directly by the concerned spirit's voice. As Garrett went into a trance she spoke in Uvani's voice with oriental accent, "Here comes someone dear to you. A very youngman. He went out suddenly. He passed on due to congestion in the heart and lungs." "He shows me portraits. He mentions the name Joan. Little Joan. He was 33."
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Capt. Raymond Hinchcliffe called his daughter 'little Joan'. And the Captain's age was 33. "He must be your husband. He keeps pointing to a ring on a finger. Was he married twice or have you two wedding rings?" Indeed Hinchcliffe had two rings, and that's what he wanted to convey. Uvani mentioned that Herman Hess and Wilhelm Hepner were seen by Capt. Hinchcliffe. Both were friends of his and had died earlier in air crashes. "On God! It was awful. He had forgotten everything but his wife and children. As he grows stronger, he will communicate better. His last effort was to swim to land." After a pause, Hinchcliffe's spirit said, "Tell them there is no death. Life here is but a journey and a change to different conditions." Mrs Hinchcliffe again visited London Spiritualist Alliance on 24th May, 1928 and attended Garrett's seance. This time Uvani's voice spoke in detail about the fatal accident, weather, speed and course changes. Then it said that Emilie had told her daughter Joan that her father had gone on a journey. Joan had then asked her as to when her father was coming back. That was true. When Emilie had told her that her father was away on a journey, Joan had asked her when her daddy would return. Then the voice said, "Betty is careful. She is trustworthy and careful, with both children. Give a kiss to little Joan." Bettty was the name of the help. The voice added that Hinchcliffe had seen the portraits of Joan and the baby that Emilie was painting. "He tells now it was his intention to steer a northerly course. However, the more he tried to go north, the more he buffetted. He was never sure about his plugs. And before he started, he changed the plugs," the voice further said. Emilie noted what the voice said about plugs. She would have to check up. Then the voice said about the cufflinks she was looking for. "The cufflinks are in a little box in the cupboard," it said. She had not looked thoroughly into the cupboard. When she reached home, she opened the cupboard and found the
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little box in the drawer. She opened the box gingerly and there were the cufflinks resting securely in it. She also verified about spark plugs with Capt. Sinclair, her husband's friend and the supposed co-pilot on the flight. He confirmed the fact, and said that the replaced plugs were of a different type. During the next seance with Garrett on 9th June, 1928 Capt. Hinchcliffe advised Emilie to publicise about the compensation she was to get from Elsie Mackay's father. "Talk this over with the Daily Express," he suggested and predicted that she may get the compensation by the end of July, 1928. Then Hinchcliffe asked Emilie whether she had seen the plot in Edridges where he wanted to build a house. Emilie was not able to find the survey plan. Next time when she communicated with Hinchcliffe on Ouija Board with the help of Earl, she got the message, "You will find a paper which may be of use behind a drawer on the left of my desk." Emilie went home and found the plan behind the drawer. One day a reporter from Daily Express came to meet Emilie. She was instantly reminded of the message she had received through Uvani's voice about her husband asking her to talk to the Daily Express. She talked to the reporter, explaining her crippled finances. This led to the publication of a report in the Daily Express underlining the financial hardships that Mrs Hinchcliffe was facing and the moral obligation of Elsie Mackay's father, Lord Inchcape, to pay the compensation. This issue was also raised in the House of Commons, linking it to Lord Inchape's moral obligation to help Mrs Hinchcliffe. Uvani's voice, however, assured Emilie that she would receive the expected money by the end of July, 1928. On the 25th July, 1928, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Lord Inchcape had placed at the disposal of Chancellor of Exchequer a sum of 10,000 for the purpose of meeting any complaint by the other sufferers from the disaster in which his daughter had lost her life. Emilie Hinchcliffe received the money when she applied for it. Hinchcliffe's spirit also warned about an airship R 101 which was to fly from England to India through Uvani's voice. Called dirigible, it was a huge airship lifted into the air by the tall hydrogen bags, some as
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high as ten storey building, that it housed. It was propelled by five engines slung below its underbelly in pods. Though the airship was not yet ready for its maiden journey, the Air ministry was anxious to have this proposed intercontinental flight carried out. Earlier another dirigible R 100 had successfully flown to Canada. Hinchcliffe's spirit advised Emilie to talk to Sq.Ldr. E.L. Johnston, the navigator of the airship and tell him to postpone the flight. Otherwise it warned that Johnston and others in the airship would meet the same fate as he had himself met. Emilie met Conan Doyle and apprised him of the danger involved in going ahead with the flight of R101. Conan Doyle took her to Sq.Ldr. E.L. Johnston, the navigator of the airship. Johnston complacently claimed that all precautions were being taken and as such there was no need to worry about the flight. Garrett was also seeing visions of a huge airship floating in the sky and then nosing down in a cloud of smoke. When she saw the vision for the third time, she thought she should tell someone who mattered about this. She happened to meet Air Vice Marshal Sir Septon Brancker, Director of Civil Aviation at a dinner party and she told him about her visions and the ominous warnings she was receiving from Capt. Hinchcliffe's spirit about R 101. But he said that the flight could not be postponed as they were committed. The airship took off from Cardington for India on 4th October, 1930 at 7.36 p.m. carrying 54 persons and crashed on a hill at 2.05 a.m. Of the 54, only 6 crewmen survived. A Commission of Enquiry was set up on October 7,1930. The report it gave said that the crash occurred due to gas leakage but it was silent on the pre-launch technical faults that had beset it. It held nobody responsible.for the mishap. Conan Doyle had died on 7th July, 1930 and his spirit too was reported to be sending messages through mediums. When Harry Price, a businessman, heard these messages, he got interested in them. Price was a friend of Doyles, and had rented space in the building of London Spiritualist Alliance. He had a seance room and laboratory for conducting research in spiritualism in the Alliance building. An Australian journalist Ian Coster contacted Price and told him about his
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assignment to write a feature on Conan Doyle's post-death appearances. Price talked to Garrett about Coster assignment and requested her to act as a medium for Price and Coster. She agreed and a date and time were fixed for the seance. Price and Coster brought a stenographer Ethel Beenham with them to the seance. At the seance Uvani's voice speaking on behalf of flight lieutenant H.C. Irwin, the Captain of R101, gave highly technical details of the flight and said, "the whole bulk of the dirigible was too much for her engine capacity. Engines too heavy. Gross lift compounded badly. And the idea of new lifts totally mad. This exorbitant scheme of carbon and hydrogen is absolutely wrong...fuel injection bad...bore capacity bad...not enough to raise too heavy load...weather bad for long flight...fabric all waterlogged and ' ship nose down. Two hours tried to rise. Almost scraped on roofs at Achy." Achy, a town in France, was not marked on ordinary maps. Price could locate it when he unearthed a railway map. More startling were the revelations Uvani made to Major Oliver Villiers, Senior Assistant Intelligence Officer in the Air Ministry and one of the important persons connected with R 101. Irwin said, "the diesel engine had been backfiring because the oil fuel was not right. You see, the pressure in some of the gas bags was accentuated by the undergirders crumpling up. The extra pressure pushed the gas out. And at that moment the engine backfired, and ignited the escaping gas. It's dreadful to hear what they are saying, all bosh, and they know it, and wont speak the truth." In the next session, Villiers talked to major H.C. Scott, an airship pilot, who had flown R100 to Canada. He was also on the R100 during its flight and had died in the crash. Scott gave more minute details of the mechanical failures that had lead to the crash. "Villiers asked, what was the trouble?" Scott said, "A particular girder had cracked and split the cover. This brought about an unnatural pressure and the frame gave a twist which,with the external pressure, forced us into our first dive. The second was even worse. The pressure on the gas bag was terrific. And
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the gusts of wind were tremendous. This external pressure, coupled with the fact that the valve was weak, blew the valve right off and, at the same time, the released gas was ignited by backfire from the engine." Coster and Price published an article two weeks after the enquiry was over. This article gave a brief account of the seances relating to R101. After reading the article Will Charlton, Chief Supply Officer of R101 sought the full account and Price supplied the full transcripts of the seances. Charlton examined them along with executive staff at Cardington. They found 40 references to highly technical and confidential details which only aviation experts could make and to expect such intricate information from the laymen was 'grotesquely impossible.'

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THE SPIRIT THAT WAITED TO SERVE PEOPLE


She was an Indian Hindu raised by a Scottish family in India. She was married to William Hamilton, an Englishman working in India. The opposition to their marriage was so vehement in the society of Englishmen in India that William decided to return to England with his adolescent wife. As they were returning, she gave birth to a son in the ship but she unfortunately died during the child birth. She was given a watery interment. The great-great-grand daughter of William Hamilton and his Indian wife was Gladys Osborne. Gladys was born on 28th May, 1882 at Lytham, on the coast of Lancashire, England to Isabel and William Jocelyn Osborne. William Osborne was a well-to-do man, mostly preoccupied with his hobby of yatching. The Osborne family spent its time on the yatch with the children being taught on the yatch. A governess took care of Gladys and her siblings. Gladys as a child was haunted by the vision of Happy Valley. Gladys says, "Every morning, soon after waking, even while dressing or having my nursery breakfast, I saw visions of most beautiful places. In whatever direction I happened to be looking, the physical view of wall, door, ceiling, or whatever it was, would disappear, and in its place would gradually come valleys, gentle slopes, lovely trees and banks covered with flowers of every shape and hue...Walking about, in couples usually and sometimes in groups, were people who looked radiantly happy. They were dressed in graceful flowing draperies, for the greater part, but every movement, gesture and expression suggested in an undefinable and yet positive way a condition of deep happiness, a state of quiet ecstasy...." One morning when Gladys was having breakfast with her father,
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she saw the Happy Valley on the wall. She was so excited by the spectacle that she remarked to her father, "What a nice place we are seeing this morning, Dad!" "What place?" her father asked. She motioned towards the wall. He saw nothing there and said as much. She then described the vision so vividly and graphically that the Osborne family flocked to her in excitement. The family concluded that she was hallucinating. They warned her not to let her thoughts waver towards such hallucinations. She also tried her best to shake off the visions and in the course of time the Happy Valley ceased to appear before her. As she entered her teens, a financial crisis overtook the family. Her grandfather who was a wealthy man died but willed no money to his son, i.e. Gladys's father. As her father had no earnings of his own and depended on the oldman, he became shattered and a mental wreck. With her husband not fulfilling his responsibility as the head of the family, her mother decided to separate. She deserted him and moved over to another place with her children. Gladys once happened to see a sign in the neighbourhood announcing a Spiritual Meeting. She attended the meeting. She could make out that the members were communicating with the dead through a medium but she was astonished when the medium conveyed the message that Gladys was "being prepared for special mediumistic work and her 'guides' were looking after her." When she told her mother about this, she scolded her in no uncertain terms and instructed her not to have anything to do with that ominous place. Gladys followed the instruction of her mother and never turned up at those Spiritualistic Meetings. With nothing to do now, she turned to music. Since she had a sweet voice, she started taking music lessons but an attack of diptheria interrupted her new pursuit. Just as she gained recovery, her mother died on 18th December, 1906. On the day her mother died, Gladys was away in another town. Her psychic nature asserted itself on that night and she saw her mother in a vision. In her own words, "I looked up and saw in front of me, but about five feet above the level of my body, a large, circular patch of light about four feet in diameter. In this light I saw my mother quite
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distinctly. Her face looked several years younger than I had seen it a few hours before. A pink flush of health was on her cheeks, her eyes were clear and shining, and a smile of utter happiness was on her lips. She gazed down on me for a moment, seeming to convey to me an intense feeling of relief and a sense of safety and well-being. The vision faded. I was wide awake all the time, quite conscious of my surroundings. I jumped out of bed, struck a match and looked at the clock. It was just a few minutes past 2 a.m. I returned to bed and fell into a deep and dreamless sleep, awakening late the next morning to find a telegram from my brother saying, 'Mother passed away at two O'clock this morning.'" Diptheria had deprived her voice of its melody. Now she couldn't make singing her career. So she turned to dancing and chorus singing in comedies. Now, with none to stop her from attending necromantic sessions, she started attending spiritualist Church. In one of the seances, the medium informed her that she should be ready for an important spiritual work. Her guides, she was told, would lead her towards the fulfilment of that prophecy. But she should first come across the right man who would be her life partner. She didn't need to worry. Her guides would arrange her meeting with her would-be husband within a year. And what a husband! The way the medium portrayed her would-be husband, he could be the oddest suitor with a weird dress style. "He is a man about sixty-five, large grey moustache, hair white at the sides, hooked nose, tall, over six feet, very thin; wearing cherry coloured trousers, a pale blue coat trimmed with fur. His hat is made of patent leather or some shiny material with a bunch of white feathers at the side of it." Gladys had almost forgotten about this prediction until the day when suddenly she saw the man, answering the description so minutely given by the medium, on the stage. She was playing a role in a period romantic drama and was waiting in the wings when an army officer made the entry "dressed in cherry-coloured trousers, pale blue coat trimmed with fur, grey moustache, black shiny hat, feathers and all, and looking with makeup just about sixty-five."
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T H E R E A L LIFE

E N C O U N T E R S W I T H G H O S T S A N D SPIRITS5

The man named Watkins was much younger than the sixty-five year character that he was portraying on the stage. Though Watkins revealed in bullying fellow actors, Gladys felt drawn towards him and his bullying too switched over to romantic courtship as they came closer, as if ordained by destiny. In due course they became husband and wife. Watkins was popular by his stage name Leonard. He was a generous and amiable man and gave her all help in her pursuit of spiritualism. He himself was, however, not of a spiritualistic bent of mind. Gladys' spiritual guides would goad her to train as a medium but she unwittingly dragged her feet in following their directions. She was, however, destined to be a medium and she became associated with two theatrical colleagues Nellie and Florence who practised necromancy. The three girls would sit with their hands on a small table in anticipation that the spirits would move the table. But nothing happened for sometime but one day the table moved. She says, "We received messages from several friends, spelled out by means of tilting the table; my mother communicated and several others communicated with me, then a long name was spelled out beginning with F. We could not pronounce it, so we asked if we might select a few of the letters, and make use of those as a name. The answer 'yes' was given, so we picked out F.E.D.A. and this is how my acquaintance with Feda originated." Feda told Gladys that she was her great-great-grandmother, a Hindu by birth, and raised by a Scottish family. Her great-greatgrandfather William Hamilton had married her but being not able to endure social persecution by the fellow Englishmen and Englishwomen in India for marrying a native, he set sail for England along with his pregnant wife. On the way, she delivered a male baby but she herself had died. Feda further told her that she was waiting for her scion to develop her psychic powers and become her medium since she wanted to convey messages from the deceased people to their surviving kin, as a human service. After this event, she got separated from her friends, Nellie and Florence who went to remote areas to play new roles in theatrical
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productions. With none to sit with her in necromantic seances, she felt lonely and longed for spiritualistic companionship. Luckily, she chanced upon Nellie in a production in the newly built Palladium Theatre in London. Another girl volunteered to join the duo in the seances. One day the threesome was sitting in Engine Room waiting for the Director of the show, Sir Walter Gibbon, who was strolling nearby, to leave the spot so that they could start their seance. Gladys dozed off while waiting and when she woke up, her two friends told her excitedly that Feda had been speaking through her mediumship. She gave them messages from some of their dead telatives. It was a welcome news for Gladys because it meant that she had become mature enough to be used as a medium by Feda. Feda had told her friends that it was the power of Sir Walton Gibbon, the Director of the show, who was strolling nearby, that enabled her to enter Gladys' body, "That man's power helped me to come through," Feda had said to the girls. Through regular practice, Gladys became a proficient medium in due course. The war was going on. An army officer met Gladys one day to enquire about the fate of his missing colleagues. The uniformed officer was Sir Walter Gibbons. Gladys did not recognize him nor did he recognize her. But when Feda entered Gladys' body, she immediately recognized Gibbons and alluding to the incident in Palladium, said, "I influenced you to come downstairs so that I could draw on your power to entrance Gladys." Gibbons too remembered how he felt an indescribable urge to go to Engine Room at that moment, though left to himself he would have never gone to that unlikely place. He admitted that he had seen three young girls sitting at a table there. Feda then answered his queries regarding his missing army colleagues. When Gladys attained a fair degree of perfection in mediumship in due course, she took mediumship as a profession. Feda forewarned her that the world was about to experience a historical calamity and both (Gladys and Feda) had a duty to perform for the affected people. Soon World War I broke out with all its devilish cruelty spelling death and
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destruction. Gladys now held seances in Western London for the benefit of the people who wanted to receive messages from their kin who had died in the War. The famous physicist and physical researcher Sir Oliver Lodge who had lost his son in the war came to her one day. She held the seance and his dead son communicated with him. Convinced of her expertise in mediumship, he published a book entitled Raymond which became very popular. With the book, Gladys also became a well known figure. She held seances for about half a century and her utterances were duly recorded. Gladys died in 1961 at the age of 79. So long as she lived, no one ever doubted her genuineness as a spiritual medium. She was also more than pleased with her life as God was kind enough to assign ' her a role to assuage the anguish of the kin of the war victims.
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8
THE SPIRIT THAT GOT ITS BODY EXHUMED
It was a sunny day on 13th September, 1950 when a small crowd gathered at a grave in the cemetery at Castel-Raimondo in Italy. Dr. Giuseppi Stoppolini, who appeared to lead the gathering, ordered the workmen to start digging the grave. "Be cautious, you are not digging a grave for burial. You have to recover the coffin containing a lady's body. See that it is not damaged," he warned. The workmen started digging. Stoppolini was a Professor of Psychology at Camerino University, Italy. Besides him, there were two pathologists from Camerino Board of Health, three officials from the Italian Government, a photographer and workmen. "Dr. Stoppolini, we would be most surprised if this exhumation confirms your belief that the buried lady was not dead when she was being buried," said one of the pathologists who had his own misgivings about the whole operation. "We have also our own doubts, Professor. First of all, could we trust a meidum? What she said may be just nothing but gibberish," said a Government official. "There is no rational basis for such beliefs either. If the exhumation produces no result and its get reported in newspapers, we would all become a laughing stock," opined another Government official. "Yes, I know that. There is a chance that our efforts may turn out to be idle. But that chance is quite remote, Sir. In most cases what the medium spoke proved to be true," said Stoppolini. "Let's hope so," said the second Government official. The grave was that of Rosa Spadoni. The exhumation was being
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done to find whether Rosa was dead at the time of burial or was alive but in a state of coma. Rosa had died in the civil hospital in Camerino eleven years earlier, on 4th September, 1939 and was buried two days later. Why did the doubt whether Rosa was dead or alive at the time of her burial arise? And that too eleven years later. This doubt did not arise as a result of revelation by a human being or scrutiny of medical records. The invisible spirit of Rosa caused this doubt. Stoppolini, Professor of Psychology at Camerino University, taught occult seances too. His classes on the seances were very popular and much liked by his students. The subject itself was interesting and Professor's devotion to it plus ' his research on it made his lectures doubly engrossing. Added to these, the necromantic demonstrations or seances formed a part of his teaching which no student wanted to miss. During these seances the mediums revealed facts which astounded the students. Once Professor brought a medium Maria Bocca for demonstration. Maria went into a trance. As the students watched in amazement, she started conveying messages from the dead relatives and friends of the students, in their own voices. The students could recognize the voices of their dear ones. The names and details that Maria conveyed could not have been known to a stranger like her. They were precise and true. Suddenly, Maria uttered in a voice nobody could recognize, "For , God's sake, have mercy and listen to me." Professor said, "Yes, please. State who you are and what you want?" "I am Rosa Spadoni. Before marriage, I was Rosa Manichelli. My husband too has died. We were buried in the same cemetery the cemetry of Castel-Raimando," the voice said. The voice then revealed a fact which would have remained buried with Rosa, had her spirit not intervened. "I was buried alive because I was in a coma and they assumed I was dead. Obviously they didn't examine me properly and buried me. I want this fact to be made known to all so that such mishaps don't occur."
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"Did you regain consciousness in the grave?" asked Professor. "Yes. And I struggled to raise the lid of my coffin with all my strength but it didn't budge. Thus, I choked to death in the coffin. Please exhume my body and see the fact for yourself." Professor assured the voice that he would have the Rosa's body exhumed for examination. How Professor got the Camerino Board of Health and the Government interested in the matter and how he procured the permission for exhumation is another story. He had first to convince the head of the University about the authenticity of the medium's revelation. He then doggedly pursued his appeal for the permission for exhumation of Rosa's bodv with the officers of the Board of Health and also secured the cooperation of Government. The process was not so easy as it implied a long drawn-out campaign full of disappointments and occasional triumphs, luckily climaxing in success. His plus points were the impressive mediumship records and his skill of persuation. The digging continued and the workmen finally struck the coffin. They cleared the surrounding soil and readied the coffin for opening. Professor stepped into the grave and opened the lid. The skeleton was lying on its back and the skull was turned to the left. The left arm was bent upward, with the fingerbones thrust into the mouth and throat cavity. The knees were bent as if the body made harsh attempts to force open the lid. Worse, there were parallel scratches on the inside of the lid where Rosa had tried to force open it. The pathologists in their public statement announced that they were not concerned how Professor came to know that Rosa was buried while she had not yet died, but "we must agree with him that Rosa was buried in a coma when vital signs were undetectable and that she awakened in her coffin beyond human help."

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9
THE SPIRIT THAT MOVED A LOADED RAILWAY WAGON
The spirits are known to possess enormous power. That they can move very heavy objects, throw things and create is well known. Cases of invisible force pelting stones are frequently reported in the media. If they enter a human being and are able to move things with the help of his or her limbs, we can rationalize the phenomenon as a man's real potential of physical strength being far beyond our expectation. But in such cases too, how can a man, with no pretentions to robust physique or any past record of feats of physical strength, suddenly move a fully loaded railway wagon? And how can one explain his act of lifting the rear of a loaded truck? When I saw Kallu, I thought even causing a slight slant to an iron pick was far beyond him. He was a lean, emaciated youngman. "Can you bend an iron pick two inch thick?" "No, Sir. I can't do that. How can I move a wagon or lift the rear of a truck." "But I am told you did all these acts?" "I didn't do these feats. The ghost within me did these acts." I had heard about the great feats of physical strength performed bv Kallu, of course, in a state of spiritual possession and I thought of meeting him. I met him in his modest house in Ujjain near Lai Masjid. "Could you tell me about these acts?" "I don't remember, sir. I have only come to know about these acts when people told me." "You say you were possessed by a spirit. Tell me about what happened."
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"I am a truck driver, sir, employed in a transport company. I was once driving a truck from Badnagar to Ujjain. It was the end of the year 1984. When I reached a particular spot on the road, I found the road had disappeared from the sight. "I was astonished becuse the road was quite familiar to me and so far as I know the road ran along unbroken. I and my companions were also sure that we had not deviated from our accustomed route. Neither was there any chance of deviation as driving on this road was our daily routine. "What is more surprising was that there were wild bushes and a big marsh ahead of us. There was, in fact, no such landscape around here. Just at that time the head lights of the truck went out. I and my two helpers got down from the truck. As soon as we got down from the truck the wild bushes and the marsh had vanished. "I thought it was an illusion caused by the darkness when the truck headlights went out. But the headlights were on when we had seen those bushes and the marsh. "Then I realized that it was all due to the courtesy of the ghosts. The spot was haunted and several incidents of the drivers going off their rockers and seeing weird scenes had taken place here. "The headlights turned on by themselves and we saw that the road was clear. There were no traces of wild bushes or marsh." Kallu and his companions got into the truck and moved on. After a while there was a bang and a bale of textiles had dropped on the road from the rear of the truck. They get off and loaded the bale on to the truck. When they were about to start off, they noticed two bales of textile lying on the road. "It all appears to be a ghostly business," Kallu muttered to himself. What was more surprising was that the dropdoor at the back of the truck had dropped by itself. In fact, such weird happenings were common on this road. Kallu said that his friend Om Prakash who was traveling by the side of the driver on a truck, haci found water everywhere on this stretch of the road. When he got the truck stopped and examined the place along with the driver, there was not even a drop of water anywhere. Another friend Praveen Kumar felt his truck being hit hard by some object but
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on examination he found no signs of damage to his truck. He also observed a boulder obstructing the road but when he got down and saw, there was no obstacle. He also heard noises of the packages on the truck being thrown away. But it was all an illusion caused by the evil force. Now, coming back to the experience of Kallu on that fateful day, they got down when they saw two bales of textile lying on the road. They loaded them and raised the drop door and bolted it. They cursed the devil of a ghost who was harassing them. Otherwise, how can a properly bolted dropdoor drop by itself? When they were about to go to the driver's cabin, the engine of the truck, all of a sudden, started on its own. Is somebody in the driver's cabin? They went inside and checked, nobody was there. Then who started it? Obviously the ghost. Kallu thought he had enough of the harassment at the hands of the villainous ghost. "Damn this ghost which keeps pestering me," said he as lost his mental balance. He took out a long iron pipe from the truck and challenged the ghost. "Face me if you are really brave. Let me see how strong you are! 1 will give you a befitting reply, you " shouted Kallu. There was a loud sound and the pipe got wrested from his hands and flew into the air, landing at a good distance. Kallu too collapsed on the ground. An invisible force had dealt a powerful slap on his cheek. As he struggled to rise, the same force lifted him aloft to an upraised arm's height and tossed him on the ground. His two companions watched aghast as this act repeated itself several times. Finally, Kallu got up and staggered across to his companions and fell unconscious. His helpers somehow managed to drive the truck to Ujjain and escort Kallu to his home. Next day, Kallu's friends were taking him to a Dargah for exorcisation in an autorickhaw when he jumped out of it at a railway crossing saying he knew where he was being taken. "I will not go there," he screamed, hiding behind a loaded railway wagon. He gave it a push and it rolled on. People who witnessed this spectacle were dumbfounded. "Surely this man is possessed," they said. Some people tried to help
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his companions by catching him but he resisted them with supernatural power with a few people getting blows. They gave up as he crossed the level crossing and ran towards Indore Gate. There finding a truck, he yelled, "I will topple this, if you touch me," and raised the rear part of the truck with his hands. His friends then finding themselves helpless, took him home. Next day his friends called an exorcist to drive away the ghost, possessing Kallu. The exorcist uttered some occult verses and made strange gestures with his hands. Kallu's eyes turned red and fists tightened into a hard grip. With teeth clattering, he sprinted to the iron pick kept in a corner and held it in his hands. Kallu with his otherworldly strength bent the 5 cm thick iron pick into a circlet, as if it were an aluminium bar. As the onlookers saw this weird sight of a frail human being performing a Hurcules-like feat, they could not believe their eyes. Some were so much overawed that they went out of the room and watched the goings on from outside. Kallu challenged the exorcist to come near him. "I will twist your neck like the iron pick" he said. When the exorcist, not heeding his challenge, started advancing towards Kallu, the latter said, "I will burn you to ashes," and produced a fire on the ground. The exorcist had to halt. Kallu sprang up and grabbing him with both his hands and raising him, flung him on the floor, and was about to strangle him when the spirit doctor released himself from his grip and struggled to his feet. The exorcist then chanted an occult verse (mantra) and blew out soft air through his lips. Kallu dropped to the ground with a loud yell and pleaded to be left free. "Will you do as I order you?" thundered exorcist. "Of course, I will," assured Kallu. The exorcist then splashed charmed water on his face and asked, "Who are you?" Getting no reply, he started carving the floor with a knife. "Don't carve me, I will reply," said Kallu. "I am Ghanshyam and was practising black magic. My younger brother killed me and threw
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me into a well. He gobbled up all my wealth. I became a ghost and started troubling people." "Then what happened?" "A Tantrik sealed me in a bottle and buried it. But the owner of the land where I was buried, dug up the ground for sinking a well. I then became free and resumed my ghostly form. I gained control over weaker spirits and took revenge on my brother by keeping a spirit in his stomach. My brother died a painful death as the spirit in his stomach would nibble at his liver and won't let him feel hunger and thirst." "Why were you haunting those travelling on that stretch of road from Badnagar to Ujjain?" "To cause accidents and deaths. That's how my clan grows. I love fire. Offer me burning coals. I will eat them." A plate full of burning wooden coals were brought to Kallu and he ate them in fistfuls. "I will go but do Pinddan (a rite in which the spirit of the deceased is propitiated with the offering of rice balls with the chant of mantras. The rice balls are then immersed in a river or fed to the cow.) for me. I will then gain liberation from this ghostly life." The exorcist got a cock and offered it to Ghanshyam as a farewell gift. Soon Kallu's body twisted and became still. At that very moment, the cock fluttered in the air and dropped to the ground dead. Kallu opened his eyes and looked around as if he had awakened from deep sleep. "I am leading a normal life since then. I am also driving the truck on the Badnagar-Ujjain road and have not experienced any ghostly act. Of course, we had appeased the spirit by offering Pinddan to it. And nobody else has also been troubled by that spirit since then," concluded Kallu.

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10
THE GHOST THAT THREW A BUNDLE OUT OF A WELL
A news in the newspapers in October, 1986 aroused my interest. As per the news, a team of journalists were covering the eerie happenings in a haunted house in village Kadampur in Pratapgarh district of U.P. when suddenly the volley of stones began hitting the pressmen. Poor pressman had to flee the place. More eerie were the experiences of the inmates of the haunted house. I decided to visit the village and explore for myself the mysterious incidents taking place in the house. By the time I went to Kadampur in December 1986, the haunted house had been freed of the ghosts. Kashi Prasad Tripathi, the owner of the house, received me with explicit warmth and offered the usual refreshments. He then narrated his strange experiences. The first mysterious incident was the disappearance of cash from the pockets of his son Surendra Kumar in April 1984. More mysteriously, Tripathi's wife, possessed by a spirit, announced that she had stolen the money and said, "I would not return it." Tripathi said that after this incident, ornaments disappeared from the locked boxes, and the ladies' clothes got torn by themselves. Needles pierced through the arms and feet of the ladies. Stones started raining on the house and clothes in the house got burnt by themselves. He said the most surprising thing happened one day. Khichdi (spiced cooked rice and split green gram) got cooked on the roof by itself. Stove, firewood and utensils assembled on the roof and an invisible hand placed a utensil on the stove and cooked Khichdi.
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THE REAL LIFE E N C O U N T E R S WITH G H O S T S AND SPIRITS6

Someone in the family dared to ladle out some Khichdi on to a plate for eating it. But the plate slid away and soon the Khichdi disappeared from the plate. Tripathi approached Tantriks who visited his house and tried to exorcise the evil spirit. One Tantrik was hit by a big stone and another was bashed up. The third said that it was impossible for him to fight so many spirits as he believed that not one but many were haunting the house. In a comic escapade one Tantrik had his moustache shaved by the spirit. Tripathi said that even more astonishing incident took place. Mechanical objects like motorcycle or sewing machine behaved in a mysteirous manner. A properly running machine would suddenly stop and, on examination, a vital part would be found missing. Pistons in the cylinder of the motorcycle engine and other parts would be missing, though it had been running well till a few moments back. One night a man came running to him to report that the electric motor in his workshop in another village was running by itself. He had set up a workshop in a nearby village known as Kunda to manufacture plastic items. He went and took out the fuse. Another day engine nozzle and plunger were lying on the floor. He fitted them and started the motor. Next day, however, he could not start it as the parts were lying broken on the floor. Tripathi said, "I am grateful to Tantrik Bengali who relieved me of those evil spirits." "What did he do?" I asked. "Once a gentleman came to me and suggested the name of Bengali Tantrik who is from village Badi Badakhar in Banda district of U.P. I instantly met him and requested him to visit my house and exorcise the evil spirits. He readily agreed. As he arrived, the ghosts collected our beddings, quilts and bedsheets and set them afire. "Bengali Tantrik asked me to empty the house. When I emptied the house, he gave some charmed grains and asked me to scatter them all over the house. As soon as I finished the job, a clay pot full of jowar (sorghum) came out flying from within the house and lay before Bengali Tantrik with grains spilled all over the floor.
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The Tantrik then wrapped up certain items in a blanket and had the bundle thrown in the well near the entrance of the house." "Get the bundle out if you are really a powerful spirit/' Bengali Tantrik shouted. The villagers watching the drama were aghast as the bundle emerged from the well flying in the air and landed at their feet. Bengali Tantrik then performed a rite with a pair of coconuts and a large ball of wheat flour chanting mantras. No untoward incident took place except that the sound of stamping feet heard from inside the house. Next day, as the villagers gathered before the haunted house, Bengali Tantrik hurled a challenge to the spirit, "I have imprisoned the spirits of your team in the wheat flour ball. Now, I am imprisoning you too. Save yourself, if you can." He then started chanting mantras. After a while he announced that the spirit was in the adjoining room. "Make noise by stamping your feet, as you did yesterday," he ordered. Soon the thuds of stamping feet were heard. He then threw a lota (metal vessel) inside chanting mantras. The lota came back flying. He repeated this act with lota returning every time. Tripathi concluded, "Next morning, Tantrik Bengali, interned the 11 spirits inside 11 knots on a coloured thread and went to Prayag (Allahabad) along with other villagers and immersed it in Sangam." "Was that the end of the spirits?" "Yes, sir. They say that they heard 11 splashes as the thread was being immersed in the confluence of rivers at Sangam in Prayag." "Any idea who was the master spirit?" "Bengali Tantrik told me that it was the spirit of my brother Krishnapati. He was murdered some time back by unknown persons. The unnatural death made his spirit linger in the air. A wicked Tantrik gained control over Krishnapati's spirit and made him and some other spirits to haunt my house. Thank God! I and my family are now free of that menace. May God bless my brother's spirit with peace."

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11
GHOSTLY CRIES FROM A VILLAGE HOUSE
Twenty two years back, local newspapers published a mysterious news that strange noises emanated from a house in the village Vahidpur in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh. The house, according to the report, belonged to Kamar Ahmed who used it as a shelter for his cattle while he lived in an adjoining house. Knowing my interest in the spirits and ghosts, my friend Hyder had sent the clipping to me from Meerut. I decided to visit the haunted house. I reached Vahidpur and talked to a few villagers. They informed me that the news of voices calling out for help from a house was true. The house, they said, belonged to Kamar Ahmed who used it to house his cattle. One Mohammad Ali said, "One day I was passing by the house in the night when I heard the wails of a woman and children. I knew the house was uninhabited. So, I was scared and hurried away." One Om Prakash, a farmer, said, "I also came to know that strange screams are being heard from that house. Normally, I didn't care for such reports. But that night when I heard voices calling out from that house, I wanted to enquire and just peeped in. The voices calmed down and the cows and buffaloes were remuniating as usual." Several people also said that they heard the voices. I met Kamar Ahmed, the owner of the haunted house, who said, "Yes, people are saying that strange voices are being heard from my house." "Have you not heard the voices or seen any supernatural happening?" "No, personally I have seen no such thing or heard any voices. But my wife once said that she saw a dream in which Sirajuddin's wife was saying, 'Please liberate me. I am buried here.'"
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"Who is Sirajuddin?" "He was the owner of the house and I purchased it from him. He left the village after selling the house to me." "What do you propose to do?" "I want to have the floor of the house dug up. But I can't do it on my own. I can do it only under the supervision of the police." I visited the haunted house but I found it quite normal. It was all cluttered with bags, cowdung cakes, dry stalks of crops and sundry things. The cows and buffaloes were feeding on the dry stalks. I met an educated youngman and askd him, "Do you think those screams are true or is it an illusion?" "They are as true as we are standing here, sir. Sirajuddin who owned the house was a tailor. We suspect that he killed his family and buried it in the house. The souls of the buried family want their remains to be dug out." "How do you say so?" "Simple, sir. His wife and three children have disappeared. Sirajuddin used to say that they were with his in-laws. But his wife's brother had come here enquiring about them. They are not with Sirajuddin's in-laws." "Where is Sirajuddin?" "I don't have any idea. But they say he is in Hapur." A few people corraborated what the youngman had said. As I couldn't stay in the village for long, I returned to Meerut and told my friend Hyder about my findings pertaining to the haunted house. I requested him to let me know the further developments in regard to the haunted house in Vahidpur. For a few months I didn't get any information from Hyder. Then one day I got a letter from him detailing the full story of the Vahidpur haunted house which he gathered from different sources. The following is the story that my friend Hyder narrated in his letter : The present owner of the haunted house Kamar Ahmed was much embarrassed by the questions posed to him by the people about the mysterious sounds coming from his adjoining house. Moreover,
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Sirajuddin's brother-in-law Shafiq had been meeting him and enquiring about his sister and her children. He found it difficult to answer his questions. "Why don't you ask Sirajuddin? He is probably in Hapur," he suggested to Shafiq. "I think there is something fishy about the disappearance of my sister and children and Sirajuddin's sudden exit from the village," Shafiq replied. "Why don't you lodge a police report?" suggested Kamar Ahmed. "That's what I am thinking of doing?" said Shafiq. Shafiq lodged the report with the concerned Police Station in Daurala. Daurala Police didn't do anything about the report. Kamar Ahmed in the meantime stumbled upon a village news that reinforced his suspicion that Sirajuddin had carried out a heinous criminal act before disappearing from the village. Chamanlal, a labourer, in a drunken state confessed that he had dug a pit in Sirajuddin's house and had also supplied Sirajuddin a dead lizard on his demand. Kamar Ahmed then questioned Chamanlal who testified that the news was true. Kamar Ahmed promptly lodged a report with Daurala Police Station. Quoting what Chamanlal had said, he stated in the report that he suspected Sirajuddin of killing his wife and children in accordance with a pre-hatched plot and burying their bodies in a pit dug in his house. He, therefore, requested the police to have the floor of the house dug and the truth unearthed. He also added that Sirajuddin had been missing from the village for the last two years and that his brother-inlaw Shafiq had also lodged a report with the Police Station. As the cops became aware of the strange happenings in the Vahidpur haunted house and the widespread public interest in them, they decided to dig the floor of the house. They first decided to dig a spot of loose soil. As the labourers dug the soil, a crowd of villagers watched the operation with abated breath. Upto a certain depth, no object of interest was unearthed. When the labourers dug further, a bone piece was found. This caused a murmur among the spectators. "Further digging would reveal more startling things," they said.
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True to the observation of the crowd, four skeletons emerged from the depth. One was that of an adult and three were those of children. "Surely, they must be of Sirajuddin's wife and children," said people. "The villain must be hanged," remarked others. The skeletons were sealed and sent to the Orthopaedics Department of the Meerut Medical College and then to the Medical Examiner in Calcutta. The Police registered an FIR against Sirajuddin and started the process of tracking down the culprit. A look into the life of Sirajuddin unfolds a drama of get-rich quick mindset and an action plan scripted with blood and gore. Sirajuddin, a tailor, was a widower with a son who was away learning tailoring. Desperate with his loneliness, when he molested his own brother's daughter, his brothers gave him a good bashing, and expelled him from the house. His relatives then arranged for his second marriage and he thus married Nasreen from whom he had three children, a daughter and two sons. Sirajuddin switched from tailoring to cycle repairing but in the meanwhile he got into the habit of gambling on Satta (illegal gamble). The meagre income from cycle repairing did not allow him a free hand in gambling. He sold even his wife's gold ornaments to sustain his habit of betting. This naturally led to verbal duels between the couple. With his domestic life becoming burdensome due to bickerings between him and his wife, he went to a friend's house in Hapur in quest of peace of mind and there met Sugara, a pretty widow. She had two children. She was wealthy and owned a house. Sirajuddin lied to her that he was alone as his family had perished in the riots. Sugara longed for a life partner and when Sirajuddin courted her she viewed him as her would be husband. When Sirajuddin expressed his wish to marry her, she'readily agreed. Sirajuddin, however, found Nasreen and children an obstacle on his way to achieving his objective of marrying Sugara. His marriage with Sugara, he felt, was an open sesame to his personal prosperity and marital bliss. So, he hatched a diabolic plan. He came home to
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Vahidpur and sent his wife and children to his in-laws. His wife in any case was anxious to see her parents as she had long been away from them. When his family was away, he called a labourer Chamanlal and asked him to dig a pit during the night in his house supposedly for performing a ritual so that he could win in Satta. "Keep it secret, otherwise the sanctity of the ritual would be lost," he said and promised a generous tip to Chamanlal. When Chamanlal could not continue to dig beyond a certain depth and left with his ample reward, Sirajuddin entered the pit and added a further good depth to it, and finished the job. Next day, Sirajuddin brought his family to his house. Questioned about the pit by his wife, he said that he had to pray in it for winning in Sattn. "Don't tell anybody about it. Otherwise, it may lose its sanctity," he warned his wife. The same night he met Chamanlal and asked him to get him a dead lizard. The needy Chamanlal was not in the habit of questioning when promised a good reward. He obediently brought a dead lizard to Sirajuddin and received his promised reward. Sirajuddin surreptiously boiled the dead lizard in the milk. He offered the milk and sweets which he brought as a special treat, to his family. They ate the sweets and drank the milk with relish. The spiked milk had its effect and they became unconscious as they slept. Sirajuddin faced no resistance from his family members as he strangled them to death. He dumped the bodies in the pit and filled it up by the crack of the dawn. In the morning he locked up the house and departed. A few days later he returned and put up his house for sale. His neighbour Kamar Ahmed purchased it as he needed a shed for his cattle. After selling his house, Sirajuddin left for Hapur to marry Sugara. Somehow, his attempts to get her into a wedlock with him failed and he moved to Delhi where he did some odd jobs. The police tracked him down to Delhi and nabbed him in Modipuram near Delhi, while he was trying to escape from the police net. Sirajuddin admitted to his crime and ultimately got his deserts.


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12
A ROMANCE THAT EXTENDED TO THE OTHER WORLD
Over eighty years back, i.e. in nineteen hundred twenties, a woman was writing at a desk at an incredibly high speed with a pencil without pauses, watched by a team of scholars, churchmen and psychical investigators in the study of the Bishop of Kenningston, England. She was writing at a speed of about 1,500 words per hour. Normally a person can write maximum at half that speed as creative writing involves pauses, readings and rewritings. The lady whose name was Geraldine Cummins was, however, engaged in creative writing. The elite team watching the feat marvelled as Geraldine produced word after word in an unending series on the paper. Geraldine, in fact, was not writing on her own but was, as she claimed, being dictated to by a spirit. This form of writing is known as automatic writing which gained momentum in the beginning of the twentieth century. In this form of spirit communication, the medium would go into a trance and the spirit would guide his or her hand to write the message. The spirit, which guided her right now, Geraldine claimed, belonged to a person who lived in biblical times and was the messenger of Cleophas, who must have been a scholar of Christian history, as evidenced by his dictations. The scholars and churchmen, who watched Geraldine writing, testified to the authenticity of the scripts but were flabbergasted as she was not even a student of Christian history nor had any knowledge of Greek, Latin or Hebrew, a must for research on the subject.
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Her book The Scripts of Cleophas, dictated to her by the spirit of the messenger of Cleophas, contained detailed information on the period between the death of Jesus Christ and Paul's departure to Athens. This period had so far remained a gap in the biblical history and the book filled in the gap. Geraldine was born in 1890, in County Cork, Ireland. She was the fourth child and first daughter of a Professor of Medcine at the National University, Ireland. She didn't receive any formal education but was tutored by resident English governess. She read voraciosly mystery fiction and Irish tales and plays. She was a suffragette and founded, along with others, the Manchester Women's Franchise League. She started her career as a playwright and novelist but turned to psychic phenomenon when she came into contact with a noted automatic writer Helen Dawden in 1914. Geraldine took up spirit communication and subsequently developed the skill of automatic writing by strenuous practice. She had produced 15 books through automatic writing. She, however, also conducted seances and acted as an intermediary for the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt's spirit. He had died in 1945. Roosevelt's spirit warned Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie through the mediumship of Geraldine in 1948 that a bloody war would break out in Korea. It also prophesied that Gen. De Gaulle would become the President of France in 1958. Needless to say that both the prophecies came true. In 1957, W.H. Salter, Hon. Secretary of Physical Research Society informed her that a member of the Society, Major Henry Tennant, wanted to communicate with his late mother. So, could she help him? He did not disclose the identity of Major Tennant's mother. His mother was Mrs Charles Coombe Tennant, Britain's delegate to the League of Nations, art patron and a magistrate. She was well known in social circles. She had acted also as a medium under the name of Winifred Willett. Geraldine was successful in communicating with the late Willett (Mrs Tennant) whose very first message from the other world highlighted the heavenly peace that she enjoyed there. "There comes to
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me from the earth such a feeling of depression, of worrying, of anxiety, of fear, of death and all derived from non-belief...if they could but realize half the glory, even a fragment of the life I now experience." The details of the people and happenings contained in the messages from Willett were so damagingly accurate that some of them could not be published, lest they cause embarrassment to the persons concerned. Geraldine published the exchanges of communications between Willett and her son, Major Tennant, in the form of a book
entitled Swan on a Black Sea, in 1965.

Willett was born on November 1,1874 to George Edward PearceSerecold and his second wife Mary Richardson. George became the Master of Jesus College, Cambridge. Willett married Charles Coombe Tennant of Cadoxton Lodge, Glamorganshire. Willett became an Associate Member of Society of Psychical Research in 1901 but resigned in 1905. She made an attempt at automatic writing in 1908 after the death of her daughter Daphne. She happened to meet Sir Oliver Lodge, a Phycisit from Cambridge University and a noted spirit communicator. He advised her to practise mediumship in order to communicate with her deceased daughter. She then trained in mediumship and started practising it. Willett played an important role in the romance of late Mary Lyttleton from the 'other world' with Arthur Balfour, an important political leader who became the Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1902. This romance was the continuation of their infatuation with each / other during their youth. This romance known as 'Palm Sunday Case' lasted 30 years and became a landmark in the history of spiritual communication. Mary and Arthur met in 1870 for the first time. They both had passion for music and became close friends. Mary was born in 1851 in an English feudal family. She was also good at playing piano. Arthur, born in 1848, was also from a rich feudal family. Their friendship ripened into love and in 1875 Arthur expressed his intention to propose marriage to Mary but before their romance could culminate in marriage, she was down with Typhus. During illness, Mary babbled. Her sister Levenia later said that in
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the babble, Mary assured Arthur that she would continue to love him even after departing from this world. Mary died on March 31, 1875. Arthur came to see his ladylove for the last time and put a ring on the lifeless finger of Mary. He then took the vow to remain a bachelor so long as he lived. He stuck to his vow till his last breath. His mother, in fact, had given him the ring which she meant for another girl. Arthur went on a world tour in 1879 with the brother of Mary, Spencer Lyttleton. When he returned a year later he observed the death anniversary of Mary. On that occasion, Levenia gave him a tress of Mary's hair as a memento. He preserved it in a silver box and regarded it as a very precious possession. Arthur entered politics at the instance of his uncle Robert who had become the Prime Minister in 1874. Arthur became Chief Secretary of Ireland and in 1887 Leader of the House of Commons and again during 1895 to 1905. From 1902 to 1905, he was the Prime Minister. He was the Leader of Opposition from 1905 to 1911. Willett, who had started autowriting, was receiving spirit messages which she passed on to Gerald, an expert in spirit communication and brother of Arthur. She gave Gerald the autowirtten scripts mostly in 1912 followed by others from 1913 to 1918. Willett was receiving messages from late W.F.H. Myers, who was the founder of Society of Physical Research (SPR) and a well known spirit communicator. She was related to Myers who had died in 1901. Similar messages were also being received by other mediums, individually, viz. Margaret Verrall, a friend of Myers and Classical Lecturer at Newnham College, Alice Kipling Fleming, sister of Rudyard Kipling, the well-known poet-writer and Hena Verrall, Margaret Verrall's daughter, who was married to W.H. Salter, a psychic researcher. The messages were full of oblique references and symbolisms. The SPR studied the messages and concluded that they were from a discarnate entities. To interpret the symbolisms and obscure references, a research committee was formed. This committee was headed by Sir Oliver Lodge, a Physicist from Cambridge University with Eleanor Sidgwick, Principal of Newnham College, Gerald Balfour, writer philosopher
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and brother of Arthur Balfour, his friend J.C. Piddington and Alice Johnson, a scholar of natural sciences. The research committee found that the purpose of the messages was to communicate the after death survival of the spirits of Mary Lyttleton and Francis Balfour, a brother of Arthur and Gerald, who was killed in an accident on Alps in 1882 at a young age. Other spirits that communicated through the mediums were those of Henry Sidgwick, husband of Elean or Sidquick and Edmund Gurney, a member of SPR who had died in 1888. The research committee found that Mary called herself Palm Maiden. A research on this subject revealed the fact she had died on Palm Sunday. There was also a quotation from Milton's elegy entitled Lycidas. Mary meant to air her grief over the death of Francis Balfour, who had died in an accident on Alps at the age of 31, through this elegy. Though Mary had preceded Francis to death by 12 years, it was strange how she had come to know of his death. The elegy also had references to broken pillars and fish. The fish referred to Francis's research in Pisciculture and the broken pillars signified his incomplete research work. The messages had also mention of snowclad mountains which hinted at Francis's death during his Alps expedition. Mary also called herself Lady with a Candle. When the researchers delved into the mystery, they found that Mary's favourite photograph of hers was the one in which she posed with a lit candle. Mary also hinted through a poetic quotation at the ring which Arthur had put on her finger after her death. What puzzled the researchers most was her reference to the legend of Berenes. According to the legend, Berenes clips her tresses and offers them to a deity with the prayer that her husband return safely from the battle field. They couldn't know the answer to the riddle till they consulted Arthur who revealed the secret of Mary's sister Levenia presenting him her tress as a token of her memory. Arthur and others wondered how Mary's spirit could know of this incident because Levenia had made the present after the death of Mary. Mary also quoted Tennyson's "Ode on the death of Duke of
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Wellington". This revealed the fact that she knew that the Duke was the grand godfather of Arthur. Around 1911 Willett's mediumship became very efficacious. She was able to communicate directly with the various spirits without the help of control. Initially, it was late F.W.H. Myers, the founder of SPR and then his late friend Edmund Gurney who "told first to Lodge and later to Gerald through Mrs. Willett's automatic script or trancespeech, about the use which they claimed to be deliberately making of her, of the methods which they employed and of the difficulties which they encountered through her." Willett had never seen or heard of Mary or Arthur. After a trance, she described Mary as a very young girl wearing old fashioned dresses. "She appeared sad and forlorn," she said. Gerald who was much impressed by the mediumship of Willett, began sitting with her in autowriting sessions and taking notes. He once asked Mary, "Do you have any message to a particular person?" It was April 14,1912. "Yes, the message may be passed on to Arthur," said Mary. Arthur was 64 years old then. The message was kept secret and as such nobody knows till today what it meant. The message, however caused a great deal of emotional disturbance to Arthur. He sent the reply to his sweetheart after three long months. We don't know the reason for the delay. His message said that he understood what she wanted to communicate to him. Before communicating Arthur's reply, Willett said, "Mary says I tried to contact you earlier...years have passed since then...I tried to have this closed door opened but nobody listened to me. It appeared to me I will never be able to talk to the person I wanted to talk to." Inexplicably, after Willett conveyed Arthur's reply to Mary, she didn't reply and kept quiet for three long years. Then on April 29,1915, Gerald, in consultation with his brother Arthur, invited Willett to Arthur's residence for a sitting. Arthur was also present at this sitting. But this time Willett repeated the earlier narration laced with symbolisms and oblique references. When Willett, however, came out of the trance, she said that she
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could hear clearly the musical notes wafting in this very room. This was the very room where Mary and Arthur practised music in their youth. It was surprising that though there was no piano in the room, she could hear piano notes resounding in the room. "I can see a tender fingered young woman playing on piano....I am also seeing a y o u n g m a n who is listening to the music," Willett said. Then she added, "Her invisible body is still present in this room... Sometime back I saw her placing her hand on your shoulder." "Yes, I felt someome placing a hand on my shoulder a few minutes back," said Arthur. "On another occasion Willett said in a trance, I see a youngman standing near the same young woman under trees. He has curly hair parting in the middle." The hair style matched that of Arthur Balfour. On February 9, 1929, Willett felt as if somebody was calling her. She tried to sleep over it but couldn't. She then went into a trance and started autowriting. She wrote, "The young woman who was calling me is the same young woman I had seen under trees in Arthur Balfour's house. She wanted to send an important message through my mediumship...She wanted to go to the place where Arthur is present. She finds the door to the earth open but the world beyond the door is out of her reach. She longs to appear before Arthur and talk to him. She had been knocking on the door of Arthur's mind but nobody comes forward to open it. She wants to say that death cannot destroy their love. She has been awaiting a message from Arthur. She wants the medium to promise that she would convey the message to Arthur." When Arthur received the message, he was bedridden with pneumonia. After reading the message, he was crestfallen. He later sent the reply, "Yes, death too cannot destroy true love. Arthur wants to say that even after a lapse of 50 years, his love for Mary has not waned a bit. He now thinks that the moment of their reunion is approaching." Arthur was 81 and his health was failing. He requested Willett to put him in contact with Mary. She went into a trance and said, "I am seeing Mary. Her face is as aglow as before. She says that she is always with you. 'She says if you introspect, you will see me...When you rest
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T H E R E A L LIFE

E N C O U N T E R S WITH G H O S T S AND SPIRITS7

you feel happy and that makes me happy too. I am now brushing your hair with my hand. I wish you could see me doing this1. " Arthur's health started deteriorating since that day and on March 19,1930 he breathed his last. Winnifred Willett alias Mrs Charles Coombe Tennant was a gifted woman and her autowritten scripts bear testimony to her exceptional talent in mediumship. The book, The Palm Sunday Case by Countess Jean Balfour, portrays the saga of eternal love of two souls, one living and the other disembodied, in which Willett played a key role.

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13
THE GHOST THAT HAUNTED GERMAN ROYALS
It was a night during June 1914 in the Palace of Potsdam, Prussia (Germany). The Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II rang the bell and as the door of the study, where he was working late into the night at his desk with bowed head, opened, he heard the footsteps of what he thought the approaching bodyguard. He was in the habit of getting a midnight repast and so he started ordering, "Bring me..." But as he raised his head, he kept staring with his voice stifled. The person who entered the study chamber was not his bodyguard but a shadowy female figure dressed in white, with a long flowing black veil trailing behind her on the ground. As he regained his speech, he rose from his chair and cried, "Who are you, and what do you want?" His hand automatically reached for the revolver lying on the desk. The white figure stood motionless as the Emperor walked towards it. The White Lady gazed at him, retreating slowly towards the end of the chamber and finally disappeared through the door leading into the antechamber. Three bodyguards were on duty in the antechamber. Surprisingly, they had not heard the bell ring nor seen the white figure entering the study chamber nor exiting from it. They were, in fact, waiting anxiously for the midnight ring of the bell but when it didn't come through even long past midnight, they thought that something might have gone wrong with their royal master. But should they venture to open the door and have a look inside? His Majesty had forbidden unsommoned entry into his chamber. The bodyguards were well aware of the mercurial temperament of the Emperor. They recalled often the fate of the unlucky servants who
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had incurred the wrath of the monarch. A servant had even his ears chopped for infuriating His Majesty. But they knew that Emperor was in a great mental conflict. He was up against a serious political crisis on the external front. The dark clouds of war had started gathering over Europe though he himself was to a large extent responsible for it. The gravity of the political dilemma facing him reflected in his furrowed countenance. The bodyguards finally decided to have a look inside the study chamber as they felt that His Majesty may be in need of help. One bodyguard opened the door ajar and peeped in. The sight inside the room terrified him and he signalled the other two to have a look too. They too were startled and the threesome raced inside. The Emperor was lying unconscious on his back on the carpet. One of the guards hastened to summon the doctor while the other two tried to revive the Emperor. The chamberlains and all ranks of officers of the Court rushed to His Majesty's aid. The doctor had the royal patient shifted to his bed chamber and after examining him, started the treatment. The Emperor gained consciousness and blurted out in strict secrecy to the doctor his encounter with the ghostly figure. The appearance of the apparition had made him swoon and he had slumped to the ground as his vision darkened. The news of the visitition didn't remain secret and in due course leaked along with those of the other two subsequent ones to the outside world. The White Lady, as the apparition came to be known as, had been haunting Holenzollerns, the ruling dynasty of Prussia (Germany) from the fifteenth century. She was first seen in the fifteenth century looking out from a turret of the Castle of Neuhans in Bohemia. According to a report the White Lady again appeared in 1619 to John Sigismund, who was born on November 8,1572 and had become Emperor in 1608. He died in 1619. Her later visitation of the nineteenth century preceded the death of Queen Augusta, wife of Fredrick Wilhelm III, on July 19, 1810.
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It is said that Fredrick, the Great's ghost had warned his nephew Frederick William not to invade France, otherwise he would suffer a visitation of the White Lady which would bring him the ultimate in misfortune. The June 1914 visitation brought no immediate harm to Wilhelm II but it was a definite warning to him not to trigger a war in Europe. In any case it portended the death of his relative Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Wilhelm II was born on January 27, 1859 to Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia (Germany), later Emperor Frederick III and Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria of Britain. One arm of his got withered as a result of an abnormality in his birth and he always tried to hide his crippled hand from public view. It is said Queen Victoria, hearing of his birth, had sent a telegram enquiring, "Is it a fine baby?" After his father's death, when he happened to discover this telegram, he appeared to have become annoyed. Though he didn't speak, yet he turned a shade paler when his left hand convulsively closed around the hilt of his sabre. Wilhelm II became Emperor when he was 29. The next visit of the White Lady was at Berlin. This time she turned up not in the night but during the day. The European War appeared to be imminent. The worried Emperor was awake and brooding while strolling along the portrait gallery of the palace. His father Frederick looked down on him from one of his portraits on the wall with a stern stare as if warning him to think twice before waging a war against the mighty British. "Suddenly from the other end of the long gallery he perceived coming towards him a shadowy female figure, dressed entirely in white, and carrying a large bunch of keys in her hand. She was not, this time, wearing the long flowing black veil in which she had appeared a few weeks previously, but the Emperor instantly recognised her and the blood froze in his veins." As the Emperor stood horrified, the apparition advanced towards him, rather like a wafting cloud, with a mourning visage. As she approached him, she stretched her arms, as if to embrace him.
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The emperor struggled to regain the movement of his limbs and speech, but felt helpless and remained rooted to the ground. It was as if he had turned into a statue by a spell. The apparition, as it drew close to him, paused and turned towards a side door. She opened the door with a key from the bunch of keys she was carrying, and disappeared without looking back. Following her disappearance, the Emperor regained the movement of his limbs and tongue. He then let out a loud resounding scream that caused his entire entourage of attedants and officers to assemble around him. But he was so shaken up that he was not able to share his melancholic experience with his staff. The doctor was summoned who had him moved over to his bed chamber. The doctor questioned the Emperor who, after extracting an oath of secrecy, recounted the appearance of the White Lady for the second time. The Emperor wanted the appearances of the White Lady to be kept under wraps so that he may not be branded as a superstitious monarch. But the veil of secrecy could not be maintained for long. The third appearance of the White Lady took place not in a palace but in the open and that too in a forest. In the middle of July 1914, when the War was about to break out, the Emperor was on a hunting expedition. "...he suddenly encountered a phantom female figure, dressed in white, who springing apparently from nowhere, stopped in front of his horse, and blew a shadowy horn, frightening the animal so much that its rider was nearly thrown to the ground. The phantom figure then disappeared, as mysteriously as it had come." Two accompanying officers of the Emperor are reported to have witnessed the apparition. To say that the phantom lady had come to warn the Emperor of the future fate would definitely be not a far fetched guess. The War soon broke out, in the commencement of which William II had played a key role. It was indeed a quirk of fate that he should have waged war against Britain whose ruling family had blood relationship with him. He greatly adored and loved his maternal grandmother the Queen Victoria.
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He had beefed up Germany's armed forces, particularly naval force, as a means of its colonial expansion, which conflicted with the interests of the British. He also supported Boers against the British which widened the rift between the two nations. When Franz Ferdinand was assasinated, Austrians bore a grudge against Serbia. Wilhelm II fuelled the feeling of animosity that the Austrians harboured against Serbs, by instigating the Austrians which led to an explosive situation. In this eruptive scenario, Russia aligned with France and Britain against Germany and Austria. Wilhelm II's attempts now to scale down the mobilization of his forces failed as his armed forces had the upper hand in decision-making. He, however, put paid to peace efforts by backing the generals and politicians who flexed for a war. Soon European War broke out, later expanding into the World War I. The war economically and militarily atrophied Germany. When America threw in its hat into the war ring, Germany's capitulation became an imminent reality. After Germany's defeat, Wilhelm II was imprisoned on an island by the British. He was however, destined to witness the commencement of another World War in 1939, again sparked by his own country, under the dictatorship of the most bloodthirsty despot in the world history. Wilhelm II died before he could see the yet another defeat of his country. He died on June 4,1941. The following words of one of the physicians of Wilhelm II sum up his character and disposition: "The Kaiser's speech," he said, "portend an unmistakable craving for blood. His constant reference to war, his incessant admonition to the army that it must die for him, his abominable, oft repeated summons to the soldiers to hold themselves in readiness to slaughter their parents, brothers and sisters with gun, sabre, a lance, show that he is mad for blood."

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14 FOUR SPINE CHILLING STORIES


Here are four very interesting real life ghost stories that make you wonder why the ghosts act in the manner they do. As regards the second story, what pleasure the ghost of Vice Admiral derived by presenting itself at the tea party that was going on at his house when his ship was sinking? Did he want to have a last look at his dear house? In the first story, two seamen who were given watery burial swim along the ship. What did they want? Enjoy a sea swim or keep company of their erstwhile ship? In the third story, a smoky figure shapes itself u p in the doorway of an office watched by office workers. Did it want to watch the people at work or scare them away? In the last story, a w o m a n with gashes on her forehead stops a miller and requests him to bring her murderers to book. In this case, she has a definite object in view, and no wonder she attains it. 1. THE SWIMMING GHOSTS The oil tanker Waterton set out from California at the end of November, 1929. Owned by Cities Service Corporation, the tanker was sailing to New Orleans. Two seamen James Courtney and Michael Meehan were working below decks. The two seamen were jovial and immensely popular among the crew of Waterton. As the two were working, they smelt something obnoxious. A look around told them it was the fumes. Before they could raise an alarm and flee, the fumes intensified at an incredible speed and the two seamen became unconscious. As the fumes, spread the other seamen working in other sections of the tanker became aware of the accident and set the alarm bell ringing. Then followed the drill of controlling the fumes.
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After gaining control over the fumes the seamen reached the section where Courtney and Meehan were working. They found them dead of asphyxiation. The seamen lamented the death of their congenial and favourite colleagues, bid them farewell and with a heavy heart consigned their weighted bodies to the waters of the Pacific Ocean on the morning of 2nd December, 1929. The Captain of the tanker,Tracy and other officers watched the watery burial with mournful faces. The pitiless waters of the ocean swallowed the two bodies within no tme. It was 3rd December, 1929. A few seamen saw two youngmen swimming by the side of the ship. Who were these adventurous youngmen swimming in the open sea, they wondered! The word reached Captain Tracy who immediately hurried to the deck with his binoculars. The Captain watched in astonishment as two youngmen swam by the port of Waterton, as if they were swimming in a pool. When he observed their faces, he let out a loud exclamation. With their curiosity aroused, his colleagues asked, "What's the matter, sir?" "First, slow down the speed and let us get alongside them," said the Captain. As the speed was reduced to ten knots, Captain Tracy said, "Are you boys sure James and Michael were dead?" "Why, sir? Do you mean to say those youngmen out there are..." said an officer without completing his question. "Yes, they are James and Michael!" As the ship drew alongside the swimmers, the two swimmers were not there. Where did they disappear? "Are you sure, sir, that they were James and Michael?" queried an officer. "Yes, I'm sure. I saw them clearly through the binoculars." As the crew was talking about this strange incident, they again sighted the two dead colleagues of theirs swimming only 40 feet away. They were so close that the crew members could recognize them as James and Michael.
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The sight of two ghosts swimming by the ship cast a chill over the crew. An audacious crew member hollered greetings to them but there was no response. Could they mean some harm to the ship? The swimmers suddenly disappeared. Where had they gone? Next day the crew members felt reassured that they had seen the last of the swimming ghosts the previous day. But a couple of seamen saw the swimmers by the side of the tanker again early in the morning. The word went round and the crew gathered on the deck to watch the repeat show of the unearthly swimmers competing with the oil tanker. Now the crew felt reassured that the ghosts of their colleagues meant no harm to them. They silently prayed for peace for the souls of their workmates. On the third day, too, the ghostly swimmers appeared and accompanied the ship. Suddenly the apparitions appeared to signal the tanker to deviate from its course. When the news was conveyed to the Captain, he said, "Should we be guided by the ghosts? Let's stick to our course." As the ship headed on its course, it became clear why the ghosts wanted the ship to deviate. The ship had now entered a severe squall. The crew members bowed in memory of their dead mates and thanked them for their gesture to save the ship from the squall. "You are great, James and Michael," they all said as the tanker, braving the squall, advanced on its course. The ghosts accompanied the ship intermittently as long as it sailed through Pacific. 2. THE MAN AT TWO PLACES "Well, Lady Tryon! What a wonderful evening! When is Sir Tryon returning home?" asked a guest sipping tea. "Good evening, Mr. Thompson. My husband is off Tripoli leading a fleet. He's not likely to return for a month." Vice Admiral Sir George Tryon was on his flagship Victoria, off Tripoli, leading his Mediterranean fleet of eight battleships and five cruisers (warhips with armaments). It was January 22,1893. Mrs. Tryon was hosting a tea party to her friends at her house in Eaton Square, London. The guests were chatting joyously as Mrs. Tryon greeted everyone, and exchanged a few words.
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Amidst all this clamour, a figure in naval uniform appeared at the head of the staircase. "Oh, Sir Tryon is here!!! Lady Tryon perhaps wanted to give us a surprise," exclaimed a guest as he watched Sir Tryon climbing down the stairs. Sir Tryon was looking straight with a stony countenance. He didn't take notice of the tea party going on below nor did he care to look at his wife. He was climbing down the stairs as if in a stupor. For him all those guests and their conversation could as well be non-existent. Mrs. Tryon looked at him, dropped her cup with a crash and screamed. "So far as I know, Sir Tryon is away off Lebanon and is due here next month," said a naval officer with surprise written all over his face. Sir Tryon, however, unmoved by the astonished faces and the flutter that his presence caused, climbed down the stairs and marched across the hall to the door. There he opened the door and disappeared. Pulling themselves up, two guests rushed after him and looked around. There were no whereabouts of him. He seemed to have melted in the thin air. Mrs. Tryon was now sure, something wrong had happened to Sir Tryon. If the figure that appeared now was not that of real Sir Tryon, then what was it? An apparition? Sir Tryon, in fact, was busy at that hour conducting a naval exercise of his fleet which was split in two columns. One column was being led by Victoria while the Camper down was at the head of the other column. The two columns were to go ahead on parallel courses, turn inward on command and then follow reverse courses. The plan of exercise would not have caused any concern to the naval officers involved but the distance between the columns was so short that they started doubting about the safety of the exercise. One officer approached the Vice Admiral and said, "The columns are so close, sir, that there is scope for collision. Why shouldn't one column be commanded to drfit away and re-form increasing the distance between the columns?" "Yes, I also feel that the distance between the columns is not safe, officer. Let me see what I can do about it," replied the Vice Admiral.
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Surprisingly, the Vice Admiral took no stop to widen the distance between the columns. On the other hand, he ordered the fleet to follow the planned courses. "What's he upto?" wondered the worried officers as they reluctantly followed his orders. Sir Tryon wore an expression of stony indifference as the two lead ships Victoria and Caper down steamed ahead. He watched the goings on with supreme stoicism, standing motionless on the deck. "Sir, the ships are on collision course. Why don't you stop the ships?" pleaded a junior officer. The Vice Admiral did not react and allowed precious moments to slip through his fingers. Just as the collision was moments away, he shouted, "Go back" as if awakening from a slumber. And Victoria reversed. The reversal of Victoria was too late. Its momentum carried it forward and both the ships collided. Caperdown crashed into Victoria a little away from the bow creating a big hole in Victoria through which water gushed into the punctured ship. Perhaps the pumps of Victoria could have pumped out the torrents of water flowing into it. But the Vice Admiral ordered Caperdown to reverse. As Caperdown withdrew, it raised a wall of water that flooded the flagship with its p u m p s submerged while hundreds of men below the deck were caught in the flooding waters and died. Many of those on the deck jumped to save themselves but tumbled into their watery graves. They got trapped in the propellers of the ship or were forced into the suction of the foundering Victoria. Out of 642 seamen on the ship, 358 were dead and 284 were rescued. Vice Admiral Sir George Tryon was among the dead. Why did Sir Tryson act in the manner that he did and caused such a huge loss of life and property are questions that would rack every reader's mind. Was some invisible force guiding his actions? More important is the question, why did his spectre appear in his house after his deliberate sea burial? Did his soul want to have a last dekko at his house? 3. A SMOKY FIGURE IN THE DOORWAY Strange things were happening in the office of Community
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Development Corporation in Brownville, Texas. A social service agency, Community Development Corporation had been located in a building since June 1978. Footsteps in the corridor, chairs creaking as if someone was plopping into them and a door opening by itself these strange phenomena could perhaps be explained in natural terms. Buildings creaking and doors opening with the pressue of wind or walls groaning as they expand and contract with the changes in temperature. But were they really the natural causes and effects? Doubts arose as the strange happenings became more weird, like a hazy figure appearing in the doorway or a shadow passing through a wall. The Executive Director of Community Development Corporation Nick Ramon, his wife and others were sitting around the conference table after a fund raising event. It was close to midnight. Nick felt a presence, somebody approaching, though the main door was locked. But in the door was a hazy greyblack figure. "I could make out the oval of head, the shape of shoulders; then it went straight down. If it had arms or legs, I couldn't see them," said Nick. As Nick blinked, the apparition still stood there. He asked his friend Ruben Quintanilla, "Did you see that?" Ruben nodded. Later Ruben's description of the apparition didn't differ much from that of Nick. Ruben felt that it was a like a shadow. The apparition soon disappeared. Next day, Nick asked the staff members in a meeting whether they had undergone strange experiences. Six of them said 'yes'. The staff members then talked about a lingering chill, about stale, mouldy smell in the backroom. Sulpher like said someone and another said like a dead person. Estela Von Hatten, secretary to Nick felt someone standing behind her but found none when she looked back. Yolanda Gracia recalled the incident when the toilet walls moved around her and a roll of toilet paper flew around the corner and hitting her. Once Yolanda found her seat shaking. She called Estela who sat in Yolanda's chair and found it vibrating. She vacated the chair but both of them were shocked to see it moving. The ladies fled the room. Ladies
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didn't go alone to the toilet as it was adjoining backroom. They went in twos. Nobody was willing to work overtime. The members of staff were earlier not willing to talk about the spooky goings on in their office, lest they be stamped as the superstitious. Now with Nick asking them about their wierd experiences, they started talking of their encounters with what appeared to be the supernatural phenomena. This led to the invitation to Father Tim Ellerbrock to bless the building at the end of 1981. He blessed the building by sprinkling holy water in every room but he didn't enter the ladies toilet. He said that he sensed a sad presence, something not at peace there. There was peace after Father Tim's blessing but only for sometime. In early 1982 the staff with their families were having a bar-be-cue party after office hours at the rear of the building. A lady in the party had a look at the building. A mist was trying to take shape. She asked her husband to look at it but he saw nothing. Nevertheless, he heard noises like someone picking up chairs and dropping them. They then sighted a chair in the door, a chair that was not there earlier. May be some invisible being was watching them. A bright light suddenly flashed in the corridor leading to the abrupt breaking up of the party. Nick then had the building's ceiling checked by removing panels of false ceiling. An electronic expert looked into every bit of building. Both the probes revealed nothing unusual. The owner of the building when questioned said, "No wonder, earlier tenants didn't stay for long in his building. The building was situated on the site of a bloody battle in 1846 between Mexicans and Americans. Perhaps, the spirits of those who had been killed in the battle were haunting the building. Skeletons of soldiers had been unearthed when a riverbed was being widened. Two accidental deaths might also be responsible for the spectral visitations the previous owner of the building had died in a car accident and a tenant had shot himself to death. After a great deal of thought, Nick conveyed his predicament to the Board of Directors. They asked him to find a way out on his own. He consulted a psychic healer who placed her hands on his head and
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declared, "Whatever is there had been there for a long time," and advised him to fix crucifixes in the offices and ask the staff to pray. Nick decided not to be cowed down by the disembodied visitors and to go about his business without taking any notice of them. Now, Nick didn't mind the eerie noises but the other staff members still felt bothered by the presence of the ethereal beings. A lady saw a shadow go past her and through the wall and then come out again. Another member felt a cold hand moving down her back. Those strange experiences took toll of the camaraderie among the office staff. The staff reacted with irritation to the good humoured leg pullings and pokings among themselves. Nick finally decided to shift the office to some other building. He gave his superiors the excuse that they needed more space. But the ghost stories had already spread and people came to see the haunted bulding. Some reported that they had also seen the ghost. A Colonel wanted to speak to the ghost and provide the much needed peace to it. He was allowed to spend a night in the office but the ghost did not bother to give an audience to him, although the Colonel could feel its presence. He promptly departed but a week later he had a heart attack. Another building was hired. On the day of departure, the staff heard a crash in the back office followed by another one. They didn't bother to check and left the office for good. Surprisingly, the new occupants of the building did not experience the visitations. Nor were the staff of the Community Development Corporation ever bothered by their old uninvited guests in their new office building. 4. THE GHOST THAT BROUGHT ITS MURDERERS TO BOOK No doubt the ways of ghosts are mysterious but their nature tallies with that of their earthly incarnations. If a person is good natured, his ghost would be harmless too. If a person is villanous when alive, his ghost too would be equally wicked. It is said that the souls of the people who have died an unnatural death or die with unfulfilled intense desires, linger in the ethereal world. If not all, many of such souls are able to communicate their grievance to the living beings as illustrated by the following story.
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THE REAL LIFE

E N C O U N T E R SW I T HG H O S T SA N DS P I R I T S 8

Dinhamshire is a town in Northern England where lived a labourer named Walker. A widower, he was leading a desolate life when he came across a destitute young woman. His friendship with her matured into a love affair but did not culminate in marriage. They carried on the affair without regard for the consequences and, in due course of time, she became pregnant. In those days in England, the moral code was very strict and an unmarried woman getting pregnant was looked down upon as an unpardonable ethical crime and excited explicit public censure. People started talking about the affair and pointed fingers at Walker. The issue could soon assume formidable proportions with Walker facing an outrageous public disapprobation. Walker had a close friend called Mark Sharp, a fellow labourer. He stood Walker in good stead whenever the latter was in distress. One day both talked about the problem for hours together and reached a decision. Next day the pregnant woman was escorted by Sharp to an unknown destination. Nobody knew where she went or what happened to her. A few months passed by when Ahem, a miller was returning home late in the night when he saw a lady at a crossing with dishevelled hair. He couldn't recognize her. Ahem was Walker's neighbour and ran a small grinding mill in the town. As his was the only grinding mill, he had to cater to a large number of customers and grind a huge amount of foodgrains everyday. So, he had to work late and sometimes till very late in night. Ahem was on that chilly night walking on the lonely road with a lantern in hand towards his home. An eerie silence had envoloped the environs and it soon started snowing. His home was still two miles away when at a crossing he saw a woman with unkempt hair walking towards him. He stepped up the light of his lantern to see the woman clearly. She was an ordinary woman but he noticed to his astonishment that she carried three bleeding wounds on her forehead. She came near him and stood. He asked her who she was and what was her purpose in wandering in the night. Could he help her?
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THE REAL

LIFE E N C O U N T E R SW I T HG H O S T SA N DS P I R I T S 8

The woman replied in a painful voice, "Ahem, have you forgotten me? An unfortunate woman used to live in Walker's house. Don't you recognize her? I am the same woman. When I became pregnant, he had Sharp escort me to an unknown destination, and I accompanied him willingly. "On the way, he attacked me in the darkness of the night with a pickaxe used for mining coal. When I fell on the ground, he gave three lethal blows with the pickaxe. These bleeding wounds on my forehead are the result of those blows. When I died, he threw my body into an abandoned minepit along with his blood soaked clothes, socks, shoes and the pickaxe. "It is my spirit speaking to you. I am burning with the desire to avenge my murder. My appeal to you is to narrate this story to the concerned State officials and bring the two criminals to book." The woman then disappeared in the void. Ahem was in a dilemma. Was what he saw a reality or an illusion? He reached his home in a state of deadly scare and spent the night mulling over his encounter with the distressed ghost. Next day he didn't sound anyone on this extraordinary incident. On the third day, the apparition of the woman appeared again before him and disappeared after saying in a curt tone, "Won't you convey my message?" Ahem could not contain himself any more and he went straight to the court and described in detail his bizarre experience there. The court didn't take him seriously. But when he pressed for action, the court relented and sent a team of policemen to the pit where the blood soaked clothes, shoes, the weapon of murder, i.e. pickaxe and the body were thrown by the murderer. All these items were recovered by them and the culprits were soon arrested. Legal proceedings were initiated against the accused. The case attracted a great deal of public attention and thousands waited eagerly to hear the verdict of the judges and the jury. The court sentenced Walker and Sharp to death. After the murderers were hanged, the spirit of the deceased woman appeared to have found eternal peace. Her ghost was never seen thereafter.


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15

A GERMAN DOCTOR'S SPIRIT PERFORMS SURGERIES THROUGH A BRAZILIAN


See the mysterious ways of the Almighty! He creates the ailments and arms man with the medical knowledge to treat them. At the same time, he blesses an exceptional individual with mysterious powers to heal very serious diseases which even the modern medicine has given up as hopeless. In fact, this exceptional individual, a native of Brazil, turns out to be possessed by the spirit of a German doctor who had lived across Atlantic and who had no connecton of any kind with the former. The Brazilian was not surgeon, nor a doctor. He was not even welleducated and had studied only upto 4th class. But he performed surgeries to heal tumours, cancers and eye diseases. No blood would ooze out at the spot of surgery nor would it develop into a septic wound or cyst. It would heal up by itself, with no application of postoperation medicines or bandages. What was more miraculous was that he would perform the surgeries with an ordinary kitchen knife. Medical experts and veteran surgeons observed him as he performed surgeris and examined the patients operated upon. They studied his surgical operations with the latest technical aids and shot videos. But they were at a loss to understand how he performed those complex surgeries without surgical equipments, medicines, anaesthasias and stitches. They also made sure that he didn't exercise hypnotism or such par; psychological technique on his patients. The name of this e: Ta-ordinary surgeon was Arigo, a farmer and later a miner in Cogonhas, Brazil. Born on 18th October, 1918, he was named Jose Pedro de Freitas but nicknamed Arigo (country bumpkin).
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He had schooling for only four years. While in school he was seeing the vision of a blinding light and hearing a voice speaking in a strange language. After leaving school where he studied upto 4th class, he worked on his father's farm. Arigo quit farming and took u p a job in an iron mine near his home. He married Arlete Andre at the age of 25. In due course, he became a union leader of the mine workers. He was sacked because of his trade union activities. For sometime he ran a tavern. Now he started seeing the dream of a stout, bald man in an operation theatre talking to a group of doctors and nurses in the gutteral voice that would occasionally become his own. After appearing in the dream several times, the stout doctor said that he was Dr. Adolph Fritz and had died during the First World War. Appreciating Arigo's love for fellow human beings, the German doctor asked the Brazilian to carry on his incomplete work. If Arigo wanted peace, he must save the sick, the doctor advised. The dream had a deep impact on the Brazilian. He, however, consulted the Catholic priest Father Pernido about his dream. Father Pernido advised him to banish the phantom of the German doctor from his thoughts. Arigo then consulted psychologists but to no avail. Neither did the ritual of exorcisation by Father Pernido bring him any relief. One day Lucie Bittencourt, a senator of Brazil, visited Cogonhas. Bittencourt requested Arigo to bring mine workers to his election meeting in the neighbouring Belo Horizonte. Arigo went along with his team of mine workers to the meeting. Bittencourt and Arigo stayed in Belo Horizonte in a hotel. Bittencourt was a patient of lung cancer and that night he was writhing with pain on his bed. Arigo entered his room holding a razor in his hand. He declared with German accent that a surgery had to be performed. Immediately Bittencourt passed out. When he came to senses, he discovered an incision at the back of the his rib cage. When he asked Arigo about the operation, the latter denied any knowledge about it. Bittencourt went to Rio de Jeneiro the next day and reported to his doctor that he had undergone surgery for the lung cancer. His doctor took X-rays and happily announced that the operation had been successful.
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The doctor said that the tumour had been removed neatly by a technique not known in Brazil. Bittencourt then told him what had happened. Soon the news of mysterious operation spread all over Brazil. Once in Cogonhas Arigo went along with his wife to see a woman friend who was suffering from uterine cancer and was in the final stage of the disease. The priest had completed the last rites. As Arigo prayed bowing his head, he felt a sensation in his head and his vision became hazy. He ran into the kitchen and brought back a big knife. Spreading the patient's legs, he pierced the knife into the uterus and scooped out the tumour. Surprinsigly, the woman didn't bleed at all. A paralytic relative of the patient, watching this strange spectacle, ran out to the amazement of the people around him, to call a doctor. The doctor examined the patient and found no traces of heamorrhaging. The patient felt no pain and was conscious. In due course, she became hale and hearty. This incident made Arigo a popular figure in Cogonhas and patients began arriving at his doorstep in hordes. Arigo was treating about 300 patients a day. While treating the patients, he was not conscious of his activities. There is no proof that he accepted any remuneration in kind or cash from anyone. Once a skinny woman suffering from stomach cancer came to him. She had earlier undergone several operations and doctors had come to the conclusion that she may not survive longer than three months. Her weight had come down to meagre 32 kilograms. Arigo wrote out a prescription for her. The medicines he prescribed were quite update and most appropriate. The prescribed dosages of those medicines were, however, double the normal ones. As she was aware of Arigo's style of treatment, she took those medicines in the prescribed dosages. In six weeks, her weight rose to the normal. The next time, Arigo handed over two prescriptions to her. After that, he advised an operation for another ailment. The surgeon who performed the surgery found no trace of the cancer in her stomach. After 11 months, she made a complete recovery. Brazil's Church was opposed to trances and manifestation of
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spirits. It resolved that Arigo should give up his practice. Added to this, the Medical Associations too moved the Court alleging that Arigo was engaged in quackery. They did this despite the fact that the doctors, who had come to Cogonhas and had witnessed the magical cures worked by Arigo, were convinced of his extraordinary healing powers. On August 1, 1956 Arigo was charged with illegal practice in Cogonhas court. To Judge Eleto Soare's query, Arigo said, "I start to say the Lord's prayer. From that moment I write out prescriptions, but I have no memory of this." He added that it was the same with operations and said, "I want to help the poor people." Though people spontaneously supported Arigo, Judge Soare sentenced him to one year and three months' imprisonment. The Court of Appeals reduced the sentence to eight months and granted Arigo a year's probation before the imprisonment. But he could not leave the town without the Court's permission. In 1958, Brazil's President Jusceline Kubitschek, a trained doctor, saw Arigo treating patients. In fact, he had met him three years earlier during campaigning. Convinced of Arigo's miracle treatments, he issued Presidential pardon to him. Now, huge crowds of patients came flooding him for treatment. He would also perform surgeries on the sly. But in 1961, Kubitschek's term came to an end and with it ended Cindrella-like Arigo's good luck. The Church and Medical Associations became active but the case languished in the absence of new evidence and willing witnesses. In 1963, an American doctor Henry Andruja Puharich and his friend Henry Belk visited Arigo and studied him in action. Arigo demonstrated to Puharich his extraordinary healing power by removing the lipoma in his visitor's right elbow by pulling it out with a knife. There was no pain or bleeding. Arigo prescribed no antibiotics or antiseptics. The slight nich healed up by itself. Taking this operation as a slap dealt on its face by the defiant Arigo, prosecution got its act together and accused Arigo of black magic. When Puharich came to know of Arigo's misfortune, he appealed to Chief Justice Felippe Immesi for mercy on the poor Good
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Samaritan. On 24th June, 1965, Arigo was released pending judicial review. Immesi decided to check for himself the supernatural healing powers of Arigo. He witnessed Arigo performing an eye surgery with a pair of nail scissors by piercing the eyes of a patient and removing the cataracts while he, the judge, was holding the patient's head. When he witnessed more patients being treated in the same miraculous manner, he was awe-struck. A woman was cured of her blindness as he wiped her eyes with cottonwool. Drops of liquid had appeared on the cottonwool as he held it prior to wiping her eyes with it. Arigo, of course, had said a prayer before applying the cottonwool to her eyes. Judge Immesi ruled that Arigo practised no black magic but not being a doctor, he couldn't practise medicine. So Immesi could not acquit Arigo. He, however, reduced the term of imprisonment. In the prison Arigo administered treatment to the fellow prisoners and visitors. In November 1965, he was released. After his release, he started practising without reservations and provided relief to thosuands of people from serious ailments. Experts and researchers examined Arigo's surgical operations and other forms of treatment, with X-rays, microscopes, cameras, blood typing equipment, bacteriological slides, etc. They also videographed his actions but could not come to any conclusion. They, however, observed that Arigo's facial expressions underwent complete change and whichever way he looked while performing the surgery, his fingers worked with undoubted skill and speed. The surgical cuts made by him healed up by themselves and the surgeries that he performed could not be performed by even the most experienced surgeons.

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'1 > ri6l

SLIDING CHAIR AND A WHACK ON THE BACK IN THE TOILET


This happened in 1988. My former classmate and childhood friend, Srinath and other members of his family heard a scream of his wife Pavitri from the roof and they rushed to her. She was still cowering and screaming, "Who had slid the chair from under me?" Srinath and children assured her that none of them had played such a prank on her. "Then who did it? And who straightened the other overturned chair placed on the parapet, and kept it on the floor?" She asked in a horror-stricken voice. "Be honest, children! Did any of you play this trick, just for fun?" asked Srinath of his children. "No, daddy, we didn't do this, we swear. You yourelf saw that we were all downstairs," they all said reassuringly. Pavitri further said, "I had come here to rest. As I was about to sit on the chair, it slid from under me and I fell down and screamed." "Did you see anyone around?" asked Srinath. "No, there was no one around. I had noticed the chair kept upside down on the parapet as I came in. But, I don't know how, but when I got u p from the fall, I found it placed on the floor right side up." Srinath and his family were living in his brother's house in Saket in Varanasi. His brother and his family were away in the US and he was staying in his brother's house till the completion of the construction of his house in Sudamapur. Srinath and his sons were engaged in the production and sale of decoration material meant for festivities. Srinath and his family couldn't find any plausible explanation for this strange happening.
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Though none of Srinath's family said so, all were suspicious of some evil spirit haunting their home. This suspicion got reinforced when Mrs. Srinath heard a faint tinkling sound from the worship room one day. But who could enter the room? This was kept locked by Srinath's brother and the lock was quite intact. It was clear somebody inside was sounding the small worship bell. She called her husband and they both listened to the tinkle of the bell. After a while this stopped. Luckily, their house under construction in Sudamapur was ready. They deemed it a golden opportunity to get over the eerie happenings in the Saket house. They move into their house in Sudamapur but only to face more malicious experiences. One day a strange incident occurred in the new house too. Srinath's unmarried son Sunil had a severe attack of stomach ache. He was writhing with pain and crying, "He is coming, daddy, save me. He is coming," in a quivering voice. Sunil's lower part of the body from waist downwards appeared to have dislocated to the extent of four inches from his torso. He was taken to the Ramakrishna Mission Hospital where he was examined and Xrayed. Strangely, the dislocation corrected itself by the time they reached the Hospital. "There seems to be some extra growth in his stomach, "the doctors concluded after seeing the Xrays. "He has to be operated upon," they said. All preparations were made for the operation. But before the operation, when the Surgeon felt the extra growth in the stomach, he became suspicious. The growth seemed to be absent. He had the patient Xrayed again. The new Xrays showed no extra growth in the stomach. Where did it disappear? They had not given any medicines either. The doctors could't find any explanation. "There must be some mistake somewhere," they concluded and discharged him. But on reutrning home, Sunil started crying again, "Daddy, help me, he is coming!" His limbs became twisted and the lower part of his body again got dislocated. His family concluded that it was a case of paralysis. This time, they took him to Ramghat Hospital which deals with paralytic cases. After examining him, the doctors said that it was
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not a paralytic attack. They advised that he be taken to a general hospital for treatment. Someone suggested, "Take him to Batuk Bhairav temple in Kamachcha and have him exorcised there by the priest and also get him perambulate round the temple. This will surely bring him relief, as his illness seems to have been caused by an evil spirit." Batuk Bhairav temple is devoted to dog God who is believed to protect people from evil forces. The priest of Batuk Bhairav temple asked Srinath to get four eggs, one bottle of country liquor and one packet of biscuits. When he got these items, the priest poured the liqour on the eggs and biscuits and fed them to the dogs in the temple premises. Then he had the boy perambulate round the temple 51 times on the first day. As the boy was not able to walk, he was lifted by two people during the perambulations. Next day, he was made to perambulate 101 times. His health improved as he perambulated and the dislocated waist got straightened. After the perambulations, he also got relief from the acute depression from which he was suffering so far. Within a month he was normal. Srinath and his family were now sure that some evil spirit was out to harm them. Now that Sunil had recovered, they thanked their luck and went about their routine, hoping that the evil spirit would now mind its own business. One night when all were asleep, Srinath woke up to go to the toilet. As he was going to the toilet, he saw a shadow pass at some distance. He switched on the light and found nothing around. When he mentioned this to his wife, she also said that she had also seen a hazy figure hurrying into their married son Ajay's room. Srinath asked Ajay whether he had seen any shadow entering his room. He denied having seen any shadow. Ajay's wife too said that she had not seen any shadow anywhere. One night Srinath heard the sound of a strange laughter from Ajay's room. He tiptoed to Ajay's room and peeped through the gap in the closed window. What he saw froze his blood. Ajay was frothing at
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mouth and his wife Kamla was sitting over him and laughing loudly with her mouth wide open, like the one possessed. He instantly knocked on the door but she didn't open it and continued her fierce laughter. He forced the door open and asked her what she was upto. "Get out, otherwise I will destroy you all," Kamla shouted in male voice, her eyes were red and wide open. By this time Ajay got up and became his normal self. Seeing the scary appearance of his wife, he asked her," What's the matter with you, Kamla?" "I am not Kamla. I have come with Kamla from her village." "So, was it you, who caused my son all those strange diseases?" asked Srinath. "Yes." By this time Srinath's wife also came there. "Was it you who slid the chair causing me to fall the other day?" she asked. "It was not me. But my other companion. He lives with me in your daughter-in-law's body." "Who is that shadow we saw entering this room?" "Why should I answer every question of yours?" "Now, what do you want?" "I don't want anything." "Won't you leave us?" Kamla laughed in a blood-curdling manner and said, "Why should I leave? You leave this house, if you want, except Kamla. If you take Kamla with you, I will accompany her." All were frightened stiff and fell silent. After sometime, Kamla became normal. Now, this incident proved that Kamla was possessed by spirits which were causing all the harassment to the family. Srinath sent a message to Ajay's father-in-law who belonged to the village Sivarain in Gazipur district, to come and take his daughter away as some evil spirits possessed her. In the meantime, the daughter of maternal uncle of Srinath, who was married in the village Sivarain, informed Srinath that Kamla used to be possessed long before her marriage with Ajay. Attempts were continuously being made by her
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parents to have her exorcised by Tantriks. The news was a revelation since Kamla's parents had not mentioned about this to Srinath and his wife before Ajay's marriage to her. Srinath and his family took it as an act of deception on the part of Kamla's parents. Now, Srinath recalled the incident which took place after Ajay's marriage. Once someone from Ajay's in-laws' house had brought an envelope and handed over to Ajay, asking him to pass it on to his wife Kamla. Ajay opened the envelope and found a paper in it with some designs and words written on it. 'It appears to be mysterious, meant to cause harm,' he thought and tore it and threw the pieces into a drain. This event had triggered the eerie happenings in his house. "That paper must be a Jantri meant to becalm the evil spirits residing in Kamla's body," concluded Srinath now. While they were waiting for Kamla's father, another strange incident occurred. Pavitri, wife of Srinath, developed an insufferable stomach ache. She felt as if someone was tearing her stomach from inside with a dagger. She was immediately admitted in the Ramkrishna Mission Hospital. The doctors examined her and could not diagnose the cause of her stomach ache. "Medically there is nothing wrong with her. Take her home," they said. When Srinath requested them to keep her under observation, they relented and put her on ventilation and drip. She, however, kept complaining about the searing pain in her stomach. Finding no improvement in his wife's condition, Srinath got her discharged from the hospital and brought her back to their home in Saket. Someone advised Srinath to consult a Maulvi in Chetganj who was well known for treating such mysterious ailments. Srinath met the Maulvi who wrote out some words on a paper, folded it and gave it to him along with some flowers, yellow mustards and a few other items in a pot and asked him to rotate it round the body of his wife and immerse it in the river Ganga. Srinath followed the advice and to the surprise of all, she began to recover. The stomach ache disappeared and she became normal in a week. In the meantime Kamla's father came and took her away for exorcisation.
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After a few days Srinath and family decided to go back to their own home in Sudamapur. One day, he and his eldest daughter went to that house for cleaning it before shifting there. His daughter was busy making rotis and Srinath went into the toilet. Just as he was relieving himself, an invisible hand dealt a hard blow on his back. He ran out shrieking. His daughter too was frightened and raced out of kitchen. Both of them locked up the house and returned to Saket. Srinath then narrated his mysterious experience to the Maulvi of Chetganj. The Maulvi came to his Sudamapur house and asked him to get four nails and yellow mustard. He planted the nails in the four corners of the house and put the yellow mustard in a piece of cloth and got the bundle hung on the front door. The Maulvi said that one of the wicked spirits that possessed his daughter-in-law Kamla was haunting the house. Srinath and his family are now living in peace in Saket. Srinath had to sell his Sudamapur house to meet certain unexpected expenses. He is constructing another house some where in Varanasi. He and his family believe that they were deceived by the parents of Kamla because the latter had not revealed the fact that she was possessed by evil spirits. They also found that as long as she lived with them, there won't be any peace. Hence, Ajay divorced Kamla after a protracted litigation and remarried. Srinath told me that Kamla too got relieved from the spirits that haunted her and was remarried.

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